The Effects of a Maternity Leave Reform on Children’s Abilities and Maternal Outcomes in Chile
Abstract: This paper studies a change in paid maternity leave entitlements in Chile. We exploit a reform that increased paid leave from 12 to 24 weeks for mothers of children born on July 25, 2011 or later. We estimate the effects of reform exposure on
different children and maternal outcomes finding significant and positive effects on children’s cognitive abilities, especially for those with less educated mothers. There is an increase in the probability of breastfeeding at least six months and breastfeeding
durations. Maternal stress exhibits a significant reduction, and there is an increase in the probability of being employed for mothers after maternity leave.
JEL: I18, J13, J32
Keywords: Maternity leave, child development, non-cognitive abilities