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Can Daddies Learn How to Change Nappies? Evidence from a Short Paternity Leave Policy

Collection : Documents de travail

240, 2018, 92 pages

When paternity leave was introduced in France in 2002, the objectives were to involve fathers more closely with their children from an early age and thus reduce gender inequalities in the domestic sphere. This article assesses the impact of paternity leave on the distribution of domestic and parental tasks within couples in the rst months after birth, doing so by using data from the national cohort of children born in 2011 (ELFE). In order to identify the e ect of paternity leave, we take advantage of the survey’s timing and the fact that some fathers have already taken leave when others are about to do so. A comparison of these two groups shows that paternity leave leads to a more equal division of parental tasks and some domestic activities after the birth of a rst child. Depending on their level of education, fathers who have taken paternity leave perform some domestic and parental tasks rather than others. Even short-term paternity leave can thus lead to changes in behavior in the private sphere, which seems to continue up to when the child is 2 years old. From a theoretical point of view, these changes can be seen as changes in the technology of the household’s production function: paternity leave gives fathers the opportunity to learn to perform child-related tasks.

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