Doubling parent leave wasteful: report

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected]
Doubling parent leave wasteful: report

Norway's near doubling of parental leave from 18 weeks to 35 weeks since its introduction in 1977 has had little long-term effect on children's school performance, parent's income or the labour participation of women, a new report has concluded.


The report, published in October by the US's National Bureau of Economic Research, concluded that the Norwegian government's heavy spending on increased parental leave had led to no measurable benefits. 
"The large increases in public spending on maternity leave imply a considerable increase in taxes, at a cost to economic efficiency," the authors concluded. 
"In a time of harsh budget realities, our findings have important implications for countries that are considering future expansions or contractions in the duration of paid leave."
However, this does not mean that paid parental leave is a poor government policy.  An 2011 study by Katrine Løken,  the economist at the University of Oslo who was one of the lead authors on the NBER study, showed that that the initial introduction of maternity leave in 1977 had led to significant benefits. 
According to her report, the 1977 policy cut the likelihood of children of uneducated mothers dropping out of secondary school by as much as 5.2 percentage points. 


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