Family Leave Policy and Fertility Rates in OECD Countries Including East Asia

Joyce Shim, Columbia University

This study examines the effects of family leave policy on fertility rates across 19 OECD countries from 1969 to 2010 including two East Asian countries – Japan and South Korea. I control for relevant variables including GDP per capita, health expenditures, healthcare coverage, dialysis patients, child mortality, female employment, and immunization rates for measles. I additionally control for social expenditures on families and childcare enrollment of children under age three. I also include in all models country fixed effects, year fixed effects, and country-time trend interactions. The results suggest that job protected paid leave significantly increases fertility rates – a 2.27% increase (p=0.000); the effects are robust throughout all model specifications. Comparing the effects of other leave (unpaid or non-job protected) and job protected paid leave, other leave has no significant effects, suggesting that parents do not respond to leave policy provided without adequate payment benefits or job protection.

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Presented in Session 187: Family Policy and Fertility