Does maternity leave affect child health? Evidence from Parental Leave in Australia Survey

Khanam, Rasheda and Nghiem, Hong Son and Connelly, Luke (2012) Does maternity leave affect child health? Evidence from Parental Leave in Australia Survey. In: 2012 European Conference on Health Economics, 18-21 July 2012, Zurich, Switzerland.


One of the arguments that is advanced in support of paid maternity leave (PML) policies is that the mother's time away from work, around childbirth, is expected to improve child health and development. However evidence on these links is scarce and, until recently, little was known about the link, if any, between child health and maternity leave. Moreover, the limited literature that does exist tends to use aggregate data (i.e., an 'ecological design') to test the hypotheses that maternity leave affects maternal and child health. Evidence from micro-level data is rare because of the unavailability of such data on household level. We employ such data from the Parental Leave in Australia Survey (PLAS), which is a nested survey of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), to examine the impacts of maternity leave on child health. Using the PLAS and the first three waves of the LSAC we find that PML creates significant effects on child's general health status and on other measures such as the incidence of asthma. In addition, we find strong evidence that children of those taking PML are more likely to be breastfed. However, children of those who take PML have no significantly different probability of completely up-to-date with immunization, being diagnosed with bronchiolitis, having a medical condition or getting an injury.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Unpublished paper. Access restricted at request of first author.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business and Law - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2013 07:08
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2017 05:05
Uncontrolled Keywords: child health; parental leave; maternity leave; health policy
Fields of Research : 14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140208 Health Economics
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920501 Child Health

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