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Effects of the 2001 extension of paid parental leave provisions on birth seasonality in Canada

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Compton, Janice & Tedds, Lindsay M.
Publication Date: 
1 Dec 2015

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It is well known that there exists a strong seasonal pattern in births and that the pattern differs across geographic regions. While historically this seasonal pattern has been linked to exogenous factors, modern birth seasonality patterns can also be explained by purposive choice. If birth month of a child is at least partially chosen by the parents then, by extension, it can also be expected that this can be influenced by anything that changes the costs and benefits associated with that choice, including public policy. This paper explores the effect that the 2001 extension of paid parental leave benefits had on birth seasonality in Canada. Overall we find strong results that the pattern of birth seasonality in Canada changed after 2001, with a notable fall in spring births and an increase in late summer and early fall births. We discuss the potential effects of this unintended consequence, including those related to health and development, educational preparedness and outcomes, and econometric modelling.

Entered Date: 
18 May 2016
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