Libertad Gonzalez, Universitat Pompeu Fabre

Paternity leave and child development


We study the effect of paternity leave on early child development by exploiting several extensions in Spain between 2017 and 2021. We conduct a survey of 5,000 families with children under the age of 6, and follow a regression discontinuity design based on date of birth (which determined eligibility for the different extensions). We first show that the paternity leave extensions led to fathers taking more leave and spending more time at home during the first year of the child’s life. Then we document that longer paternity leave did not lead to improved developmental outcomes for the children, as captured in the Ages and Stages Questionnaire. In fact, the reforms appear to have caused an increase in the fraction of children with developmental problems (in several areas). We show suggestive evidence that longer paternity leave may have led to some substitution from higher-quality care (maternal time and formal childcare) to lower-quality (paternal and informal) care.

Libertad Gonzalez is Associate Professor of Economics at Universitat Pompeu Fabra and the Barcelona School of Economics. She holds a PhD in Economics from Northwestern University.

Her research is in the fields of Labor, Public, and Health Economics and she is currently the holder of an ICREA Academia and an ERC Consolidator grant.

You can read more about Libertad Gonzalez here

CEBI contact: Mette Gørtz