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The effect of social gender norms on parental leave uptake intentions: Evidence from two survey experiments on prospective fathers and mothers
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Psychology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6134-0058
Linnaeus University, School of Business and Economics, Department of Economics and Statistics (NS).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5620-4745
Linnaeus University, School of Business and Economics, Department of Economics and Statistics (NS).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1269-0435
2023 (English)In: Applied Economics, ISSN 0003-6846, E-ISSN 1466-4283, Vol. 55, no 53, p. 6277-6293Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We investigate how social gender norms influence parental leave uptake intentions by conducting two separate survey experiments on prospective fathers (N = 877) and mothers (N = 882) in the UK. In a between-subjects design, we manipulate social gender norms by varying information on the average number of days that other fathers and mothers stay at home to take care of a child during the first year after childbirth. We find that when prospective parents (both genders) are exposed to the low staying-home-with-children norm, they plan less parental leave uptake compared to the control (no norm) group. When exposed to the high staying-home-with-children norm, men (but not women) plan more parental leave uptake compared to the control group. We discuss policy implications and suggest directions for future studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2023. Vol. 55, no 53, p. 6277-6293
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
Economy, Economics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-117251DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2022.2142192ISI: 000906680500001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85145505915OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-117251DiVA, id: diva2:1708250
Available from: 2022-11-03 Created: 2022-11-03 Last updated: 2023-12-19Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Essays on Parental Leave: The Influence of Social Gender Norms, Gender-Role Stereotypes, and Parental Child Gender Bias
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Essays on Parental Leave: The Influence of Social Gender Norms, Gender-Role Stereotypes, and Parental Child Gender Bias
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis consists of three essays on parental leave uptake and other parental behaviors, investigating the effects of social gender norms, gender-role stereotypes, and parental child gender bias.

Essay 1 (co-authored with Jens Agerström and Magnus Carlsson): We investigate how social gender norms influence parental leave uptake intentions by conducting two separate survey experiments on prospective fathers (N = 877) and mothers (N = 882) in the UK. In a between-subjects design, we manipulate social gender norms by varying information on the average number of days that other fathers and mothers stay at home to take care of a child during the first year after childbirth. We find that when prospective parents (both genders) are exposed to the low staying-home-with-children norm, they plan less parental leave uptake compared to the control (no norm) group. When exposed to the high staying-home-with-children norm, men (but not women) plan more parental leave uptake compared to the control group. We discuss policy implications and suggest directions for future studies.

Essay 2: In many countries, the majority of parental leave (PL) is disproportionately taken by mothers, leading to gender inequalities in the labor market and effects on children's outcomes. Thus, it is important to understand the underlying factors behind this disparity. This paper aims to investigate the role of gender-role stereotypes in the uptake of PL by fathers and mothers. A sample of 1021 Swedish parents (521 fathers and 500 mothers) was surveyed to assess and measure both implicit and explicit stereotypes to explore the relationship between gender-role stereotypes and reported PL uptake. For mothers, the results clearly show that higher levels of gender-role stereotypes (both implicit and explicit) are associated with a greater share of PL uptake. For fathers, the results indicate weak evidence that higher levels of implicit gender-role stereotypes are associated with lower PL uptake, while no association is found with explicit stereotypes.  The implications for policy and directions for future research are discussed.

Essay 3: This paper investigates parental child gender bias in Sweden by studying the impact of having a male (vs. female) firstborn child on various parental behavioral outcomes using Swedish microdata covering a 26-year period. The findings show no or small effects of the sex of the child on parental outcomes. Thus, the behavior of Swedish parents is by and large unaffected by the sex of their firstborn child. Results suggest that, in Sweden, factors other than parental child gender bias are likely more important to focus on in promoting gender equality in society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Växjö: Linnaeus University Press, 2023. p. 30
Series
Linnaeus University Dissertations ; 515
Keywords
parental leave, parental leave usage, social gender norms, survey experiment, gender equality, implicit association test, gender-role stereotypes, parental child gender bias, parental behavior, family economics
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economy, Economics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-126067 (URN)10.15626/LUD.515.2023 (DOI)9789180821162 (ISBN)9789180821179 (ISBN)
Public defence
2024-01-26, Room Weber, Växjö, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2018-03487
Available from: 2023-12-20 Created: 2023-12-19 Last updated: 2023-12-20Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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