Early Childhood Initiative featuring Maya Rossin-Slater

When Dad Can Stay Home: Fathers’ Workplace Flexibility and Maternal Health

September 19, 2019
3:00 PM-4:30 PM

While workplace flexibility is perceived to be a key determinant of maternal labor supply, less is known about fathers’ demand for flexibility or about intra-household spillover effects of flexibility initiatives. Maya Rossin-Slater will examine these issues in the context of a critical period in family life–the months immediately following childbirth–and identify the impacts of paternal access to workplace flexibility on maternal postpartum health. Her research models household demand for paternal presence at home as a function of domestic stochastic shocks, and uses variation from a Swedish reform that granted new fathers more flexibility to take intermittent parental leave during the postpartum period in a regression discontinuity difference-in-differences (RD-DD) design. Rossin-Slater found that increasing the father’s temporal flexibility reduces the risk of the mother experiencing physical postpartum health complications and improves her mental health. Her results suggest that mothers bear the burden from a lack of workplace flexibility–not only directly through greater career costs of family formation, as previously documented–but also indirectly, as fathers’ inability to respond to domestic shocks exacerbates the maternal health costs of childbearing.
Maya Rossin-Slater is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Research and Policy at the Stanford University School of Medicine. She is also a faculty fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a research affiliate at the Institute of Labor Economics.
Rossin-Slater’s research includes work in health, public, and labor economics. She focuses on issues in maternal and child well-being, family structure and behavior, and policies targeting disadvantaged populations in the United States and other developed countries. She received her Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University and was an assistant professor of economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, from 2013 to 2017.
This talk is co-sponsored by the Center for Child and Family Policy and the Duke University Population Research Institute (DuPRI).