Who benefits from parental leaves in Spain? a life course analysis of the baby-boom cohort

Irene Lapuerta, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Pau Baizán, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
María José González, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

This paper analyses the socio-demographic profile of individuals born in the mid-1960s who ever used a parental leave in Spain. There are several theoretical reasons for choosing this cohort: they have almost reached the end of the reproductive cycle and experienced a substantial increase in education and employment with respect to previous birth cohorts. In this context, we study the extent to which these individuals have made used of this specific family policy. The dilemma of using a parental leave is particularly acute in Spain, given that this is a long (up to 3 years) but unpaid family provision. The economic theory sustains that the main factors predicting the use of a parental leave are related to the individual’s opportunity costs and couples’ characteristics, but we know very little about the determinants of the use of parental leaves in Spain. The aim of this paper is to analyse both the chances of using a parental leave, and the duration of this leave according to different socio-demographic characteristics. We hypothesise that women in low occupational status and reduced working hours, civil servants and well-established workers are more likely to temporary withdraw from paid work, whereas fathers with high occupation status are more prone to take up a leave as they are more prepared to “break” traditional gender roles. The research is based on a unique register data consisting of a sample from the Social Security,. Data allows reconstructing individual employment histories and career breaks over the life course. First, we analyse fathers and mothers decision to take a parental leave by birth order with a Probit model. Second, we explore the use and the duration of the leave with a simultaneous equations approach, including a Probit and a Tobit model, respectively for each outcome.

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Presented in Session 95: Fertility in Western and Eastern Europe