Paternity leave could have an effect the reduction of the birth rate: men, once home with children, would become more aware of the effort and care required to raise offspring and would choose to have fewer children.
This is supported by a study carried out by Spanish researchers (from the University of Barcelona and Pompeu Fabra University, also in Barcelona) and entitled Does paternity leave reduce fertility ?, according to which the introduction of two weeks of paid paternity leave in Spain in 2007 she would have given birth to fewer babies.
In particular, it was verified that in Spain the standard introduced in 2007 was very successful and 55% of fathers used it in the first year. In 2018, the leave was extended to even five weeks.
Yet, despite the popularity of this reform, the study, carried out mainly over the six-year period after 2007, found that parents who were entitled to the new paternity leave took longer to have another child than parents who they did not take leave.
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The explanations offered by scholars for this are as follows: First, the growing involvement of fathers in childcare would have led to a greater attachment, on the part of mothers, to work.
Second, the men would have manifested a lower fertility desire after the introduction of leave, possibly due to their greater awareness of the costs associated with the care and sacrifice of raising a child. The fathers would thus have shifted the preference from the quantity of desired children to the quality of the growth of the children already had.
However, the main objective of the rule was to better distribute the weight of parenthood between women and men and this has actually happened since 2007: Spanish fathers are much more involved in care and growth of children and mothers are more linked to work.
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