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Overview and details of the sessions of this online conference.

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Session Overview
G05: Public Policy and the Family
Thursday, 19/Aug/2021:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

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4:00pm - 4:22pm

Wind of Change? Cultural Determinants of Maternal Labor Supply

Barbara Boelmann1,2, Anna Raute3, Uta Schönberg2

1University of Cologne, Germany; 2University College London, UK; 3Queen Mary University of London, UK

Does the culture in which a woman grows up influence her labor market decisions once she has a child? Does the culture of her present social environment shape maternal labor supply? To address this, we exploit the setting of the German reunification. A comparison of East and West German mothers on both sides of the former border shows that culture matters. Second, in exploiting migration across this old border, we document a strong asymmetry in the persistence of the childhood culture. While East German migrants return to work earlier and work longer hours, West German migrants adjust their post-birth labor supply nearly entirely to their East German colleagues. Last, taking advantage of differential inflows of East Germans across West German firms after reunification, we show that migration might be a catalyst for cultural change.

Boelmann-Wind of Change Cultural Determinants of Maternal Labor Supply-371.pdf

4:22pm - 4:45pm

Do Family Policies Reduce Gender Inequality? Evidence from 60 Years of Policy Experimentation

Henrik Kleven1, Camille Landais2, Johanna Posch3, Andreas Steinhauer4, Josef Zweimüller5

1Princeton University; 2London School of Economics; 3Analysis Group; 4The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom; 5University of Zurich

Do family policies reduce gender inequality in the labor market? We contribute to this debate by investigating the joint impact of parental leave and child care, using administrative data covering the labor market and birth histories of Austrian workers over more than half a century. We start by quasi-experimentally identifying the causal effects of all family policy reforms since the 1950s on the full dynamics of male and female earnings. We then map these causal estimates into a decomposition framework building on Kleven et al. (2019) to compute counterfactual gender inequality series. Our results show that the enormous expansions of parental leave and child care subsidies have had virtually no impact on gender convergence.

Kleven-Do Family Policies Reduce Gender Inequality Evidence-409.pdf

4:45pm - 5:07pm

Unequal Use of Social Insurance Benefits: The Role of Employers

Sarah Bana1, Kelly Bedard2, Maya Rossin-Slater3, Jenna Stearns4

1Stanford University; 2University of California, Santa Barbara; 3Stanford University; 4University of California, Davis

Disability Insurance (DI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) programs are important sources of social insurance, but there is considerable inequality in benefit take-up, and little is known about the role of firms in determining benefit use. Using administrative data from California, we find that higher quality firms—based on earnings premiums and other measures—have substantially higher public DI and PFL take-up rates, and that this relationship is particularly strong among the lowest-earning workers within the firm. Our results suggest that changes in firm behavior may impact social insurance use, thus reducing an important dimension of inequality in America.

Bana-Unequal Use of Social Insurance Benefits-263.pdf

5:07pm - 5:30pm

The EITC and Maternal Time Use: More Time Working and Less Time with Kids?

Jacob E Bastian1, Lance Lochner2

1Rutgers University, United States of America; 2University of Western Ontario, Canada

Parents spend considerable sums investing in their children's development, with their own time among the most important forms of investment. Given well-documented effects of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on maternal labor supply, it is natural to ask how the EITC affects other time allocation decisions, especially time with children. We use the American Time Use Surveys to study the effects of EITC expansions since 2003 on time devoted to a broad array of activities, with considerable attention to the amount and nature of time spent with children. Our results confirm prior evidence that increases in the maximum available EITC amount increase maternal work, reducing time devoted to home production and leisure, especially among unmarried mothers. More novel, we show that EITC expansions also reduce time spent with children; however, almost none of this reduction comes from time devoted to active investment-related activities.

Bastian-The EITC and Maternal Time Use-271.pdf

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