No. 1399 - Measuring peer effects in parental leaves: evidence from a reform

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by Davide Dottori, Francesca Modena and Giulia Martina TanziFebruary 2023

This paper measures the extent to which the likelihood of working mothers taking parental leave is influenced by similar prior decisions made by their female colleagues. Social connections in the workplace can play an important role because the experience of other mothers can facilitate the transmission of knowledge on how parental leave works and can reduce uncertainty about possible career penalties resulting from being absent from work.

The findings show that the share of female colleagues who have taken parental leave has a significant positive effect on the likelihood of other mothers taking it; the effects are stronger for mothers with less work experience in a given firm. The impact is positive also with respect to the amount of leave taken, while a negative effect is detected when looking at the probability of being in a part-time work.

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