Studies on labor force participation and paternity leave reforms

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  • On the 9th of February, Lauro Carnicelli will defend his doctoral thesis “Studies on labor force participation and paternity leave reforms”.

    The thesis consists of three essays on macroeconomic models with endogenous labor force participation, and on the effects of parental leave reforms on the labor marker, on gender inequality, and on family structure.

    The first essay improves the search and matching literature by creating a model that is closer to the data. The Beveridge curve depicts the relation between job vacancies and unemployment. The data shows that when there is a high rate of vacancies, unemployment is low and, when unemployment is high, the level of job vacancies is low. Macroeconomic models with endogenous labor force participation, that is, when people can be employed, unemployed and outside the labor market, fail to generate a Beveridge curve in line with the data. The model developed in this chapter adds financial shocks and rigid wages to generate predictions that are closer to the data.

    The second essay, co-authored with Terhi Ravaska, studies four parental leave reforms that happened in Finland in the 2000s. The reforms affected paternity leave taking, making it more flexible, longer or with a higher replacement rate. The regression discontinuity design is used to estimate the causal results on the labor market and on gender inequality. Results show that the reforms that increased the flexibility of paternity leave taking had a positive effect on take-up. However, no impact was observed in the labor market or on gender inequality.

    The final essay studies the same four reforms of the previous chapter and used the same methodology. The goal stated by the government on the studied parental leave reforms was to reduce gender inequality. The chapter investigates if the reforms had unintended consequences on family structure. That is, on fertility and on union stability. The results indicate that the reforms had no impact on the probability of couples to remain married on cohabiting. The reforms also had no effect on total fertility, however the spacing between births increased in the later reforms.

    Contact Lauro Carnicelli

    X: @CarnicelliLauro