Tojerow, I. & Fontenay, S.
Convention de recherche avec Thiepolam Fund Research Grant, 2018-2019

According to recent studies, most of the gender inequality in earnings is due to the allocation of roles in the household for child caring. Many countries have tried to alleviate this so-called “child penalty” by developing policies aimed at increasing the role of fathers in the household. This research project evaluates to what extent parental leave policies aimed at fathers are effective in closing this gender gap. Our identification strategy relies on three natural experiments and a rich administrative dataset from the Belgian Crossroads Bank for Social Security. We exploit discontinuities in the Belgian legislation, (1) the introduction of a two weeks paternity leave in 2002, (2) the introduction of a more flexible paternity leave schedule in 2009, and finally (3) the extension of parental leave from three to four months in 2012. Hence, we are able to observe how the duration of paid parental leaves, as well as the timing, impact mothers’ and fathers’ careers in short and long run. Our study complement the existing literature by considering economic and welfare effects of paid parental leaves, by looking into labour market outcomes, as well as health outcomes related to sickness and disability.