Research

Work in progress

“The child penalty in same-sex and different-sex couples in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland” (with Marie Evertsson & Maaike van der Vleuten). (Accepted for oral presentation at the ECSR 2020)

A major determinant of the gender pay gap is the reduction in income women experience after having children. This paper aims to study the causes of this child penalty by comparing same-sex couples (SSC) and different sex couple (DSC) in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. Comparing income trajectories of partners in SSC to that of DSC as they transition to parenthood allows us to discriminates among theories used to explain child penalties. For example, if the penalty is caused by specialization due to childbirth we should see similar patterns for the biological mother in SSC and DSC. We merge register data from 1990 – 2018 from four Nordic countries to compile enough SSC in their transition to parenthood. Using an event study approach, child penalties will be estimated separately for the biological and non-biological parents in SSC and for mothers and fathers in DSC.

“Mothers’ Birth Giving Status and the Division of Parental Leave – A Comparison of Adoptive and Biological Parents” (Chapter three in my dissertation.)

 

Publications

“The Anatomy of the Extensive Margin Labor Supply Response” (with Håkan Selin and Spencer Bastani), forthcoming in the Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

We estimate how labor force participation among married women in Sweden responded to changing work incentives implied by a reform in the tax/transfer-system in 1997. Using rich, population-wide, administrative data we estimate an average participation elasticity of 0.13, thereby adding to the scarce literature estimating participation elasticities using quasi-experimental methods. We also highlight that estimated extensive margin responses necessarily are local to the observed equilibrium. Among low-income earners, elasticities are twice as large in the group with the lowest employment level as compared to the group with the highest employment level.

“Parentalization of Same-Sex Couples: Family formation and leave rights in five northern European countries” (with Marie Evertsson and Eva Jaspers). Forthcoming in Palgrave Handbook of Family Policy (ed. Rense Nieuwenhuis & Wim Van Lancker). Palgrave.

 

Working papers

“Does the gender composition in couples matter for the division of labor after childbirth?” IFAU (2016:8). (see also popular science report in Swedish: “Är lesbiska föräldrar mer jämställda?” IFAU Rapport 2016:9.)

I compare the effect of entering parenthood on the spousal income gaps in lesbian and heterosexual couples using Swedish population wide register data. Comparing couples with similar pre-childbirth income gaps, a difference-in-differences strategy is used to estimate the impact of the gender composition of the couple on the spousal income gap after childbirth. The results indicate that the gender composition of the couple does matter for the division of labor after having children. Five years after childbirth the income gap is smaller in lesbian than in heterosexual couples also when comparing couples with the same pre-parenthood income gap. Heterosexual couples’ division of labor seems to be influenced by traditional gender norms, regardless of their pre-childbirth income gap. In lesbian couples the partners’ relative earnings before parenthood and a principle about fairness may be more important, as well as the partners’ preferences for giving birth as the birth giving partner typically spends more time on parental leave.

Press coverage: IFAU press release (in Swedish) , forskning.se, SvD Ledare gästinlägg,

 

“Speedy responses: Effects of higher benefits on take-up and division of parental leave”  

The length of parental leave entitlements is known to affect take-up rates, division of parental leave between parents and the mother’s decision to return to work. So far however the importance of the level of benefit has received little attention in the literature. Using population wide register data I exploit the “speed premium” rule in the Swedish parental leave system as a source of random variation in the benefit level. A fuzzy RD strategy is used to estimate the causal effect of a change in the level of benefits per day on the utilization of parental leave among Swedish parents. The results suggest that parents’ take-up of benefits is highly sensitive to the benefit level. A 1% (5 SEK / 0.54$) increase in the mother’s benefit level is found to increase her length of leave by about 1% (2.6 days).  This translates into an elasticity of take-up duration (length of spell) with respect to the benefit level of 1, a parameter that has not been estimated before. The fathers respond to the increase in mothers’ take-up by reducing their time on leave by an almost equivalent number of days (2 days). In other words, the change in benefit level affects not only the individual’s take-up, but the division of parental leave between parents.

Press coverage: IFAU press release (in Swedish), SVT,