. The goal of this project is to investigate the effects of family leave policies such as maternity leave, paternity leave, and child care or parental leave, on parents' care for children.
The specific aims are to assess the impact and of policy changes such as the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in 1993 on the employment and leave utilization of mothers and fathers of pre-school age children, with particular emphasis on children under the age of one. There are (at least) two reasons why expansions of family leave, such as the FMLA, might have positive effects on child well-being. First, to the extent that laws such as the FMLA result in expanded coverage, women might be more likely to take maternity leave and to take longer leaves, thus spending more time with their infants; however, maternity leave policies might also induce some women to return to work sooner as opposed to quitting work and staying home for an extended period of time. This project will use data from The Current Population Survey (CPS), Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), and National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) to test this hypothesis by examining the extent to which new family leave coverage has changed women's propensity to take leave and the duration of that leave. Second, if parental leave policies increase access to paternity leave an make usage more acceptable, men might be more likely to take paternity lave and might take longer leaves again providing more time for parent and infant; however the magnitude of this effect will be small if few men are willing to take advantage of such programs. To test this hypothesis, this project will use data from the CPS, NLSY, and SIPP to examine whether changes in family leave coverage are associated with the increased usage and duration of paternity leaves. This project will also consider the likely effects of proposed extensions such as providing family leave coverage to all workers or providing paid leave, using data from other countries such as England and Japan.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
First Independent Research Support & Transition (FIRST) Awards (R29)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Social Sciences and Population Study Section (SSP)
Program Officer
Casper, Lynne M
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Columbia University (N.Y.)
Other Health Professions
Schools of Social Work
New York
United States
Zip Code
Hill, Jennifer L; Waldfogel, Jane; Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne et al. (2005) Maternal employment and child development: a fresh look using newer methods. Dev Psychol 41:833-50
Hill, Jennifer L; Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne; Waldfogel, Jane (2003) Sustained effects of high participation in an early intervention for low-birth-weight premature infants. Dev Psychol 39:730-44