Gender equality and fertility in Sweden: a study on the impact of the father’s uptake of parental leave on continued childbearing
Marriage and Family Review, 39:1-2, 121–142 (2006)
In Sweden, the birth or adoption of a child is accompanied by the right to more than one year of paid parental leave that can be shared between parents. This article examines the relationship between the father’s and the mother’s respective use of such leave and the continued childbearing of a couple. Our investigation is based on longitudinal information on registered parental leave use and childbearing of all intact unions in Sweden during 1988-99. We analyze our data by means of event-history analysis. We expected an extended paternal involvement in leave-taking to be positively associated with continued childbearing, since it makes family building more compatible with the mother’s labor force participation. In addition, such commitment to childrearing from the father’s side is likely to signal his greater interest for continued family building. Around 85 percent of fathers take some leave but in most cases for a brief time. We find a positive effect of a father’s taking moderately long leave on a couple’s second- and third-birth propensity, but no such effect of a father´s taking very long parental leave.
Keywords: Sweden, family policies, fertility