Paid family leave, household economic wellbeing, and financial resources around a birth /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Stanczyk, Alexandra Boyle, author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2016
Description:1 electronic resource (248 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: Marci A. Ybarra Committee members: Heather D. Hill; Harold Pollack.
This item is not available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 77-12(E), Section: A.
Summary:In the time around the arrival of an infant, household economic circumstances likely change in important ways. Risk of economic insecurity and instability may rise, as households face greater demands on resources, and almost all U.S. mothers take some time away from paid work (Laughlin, 2011). Additionally, the proportion of total household income contributed by mothers likely falls. These changes have implications for child and family wellbeing, women's economic independence, and public program design. Paid family leave policies---which replace wages during time out of work to care for an infant---could buffer declines in women's and households' economic circumstances following a birth by providing resources during leave taking, supporting mothers' labor force attachment, and promoting parents' sharing of paid work and child care. Yet, research on the connections between paid family leave, household economic wellbeing, and mothers' contributions to household income remains limited, especially in the U.S.
This dissertation draws on national data to fill gaps in knowledge of how household financial circumstances change around a birth, and to estimate the effects of California's broadly-available paid family leave program (CA-PFL) on household economic wellbeing and mothers' contributions to household income following the birth of a child. The dissertation is structured around three distinct empirical chapters. The first empirical chapter draws on data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation to provide new descriptive evidence of month-to-month changes in household economic wellbeing and the composition of household income in the year leading up to and following a birth. Results show evidence of significant and enduring declines in household economic wellbeing and mothers' contributions to household income in this time period. Declines in economic wellbeing are particularly large for single mothers who live without other adults.
The second empirical chapter uses data from the American Community Survey and a quasi-experimental approach to estimate effects of CA-PFL on poverty and household income following a birth. Results suggest the program has little net effect on the economic wellbeing of mothers with infants. However, among mothers of one-year-olds, CA-PFL significantly decreases risk of poverty and increases household income. These positive, longer-run effects are concentrated among less-educated and single mothers. The final empirical chapter uses the same data and research design to show how CA-PFL shapes mothers' contributions to household income following a birth. Results suggest that CA-PFL has little impact on mothers' share of household income either in the short term (among mothers of infants) or in the longer term (among mothers of one- and two-year-olds), for the full sample. Importantly, subgroup analyses indicate that CA-PFL leads to short-term increases in single mothers' contributions to household income, and longer-term gains among higher-educated mothers.
Overall, findings from this dissertation demonstrate the need for practice and policy interventions to promote household economic wellbeing and mothers' income contributions around a birth---particularly for economically disadvantaged groups---and suggest that a broadly-available paid family leave program, like CA-PFL, may be one such intervention.