Active Fatherhood Policy and Fertility in the Nordic Countries: A Comparative Study on the Impact of Fathers' Use of Parental Leave on Continued Childbearing in Norway and Sweden

Trude Lappegård, Statistics Norway
Duvander Ann-Zofie, Statistics Sweden

In the Nordic countries gender equality is an explicit political goal integrated in present family policies. Norway and Sweden both offer paid parental leave for approximately one year with earnings-related benefits, with certain periods reserved exclusively for the father. This paper examines the relationship between fathers' use of parental leave and continued childbearing among couples in Norway and Sweden. These countries represent similar family policies, but differ concerning (political) context. While Sweden has a one-sided policy concerning gender relations, Norway has a less consistent policy giving incentives to both gender-equality and childrearing in the home. The analysis is based on longitudinal information on registered parental-leave use and childbearing of all intact unions during a 10-year period. A hazard rate model is used to explore whether fathers’ parental-leave use is positively associated with couples' continued childbearing. We expect that paternal involvement has a stronger positive effect on childbearing in Sweden than in Norway.

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Presented in Session 48: Work and Family: A Father's Perspective