Spain introduced a new national policy 12 years ago: fathers get two weeks of fully paid paternity leave. And, as of last year, the paternity leave is up to five paid weeks.
However, economists who have studied the policy have come to an interesting conclusion: men who have taken paternity leave are less likely to have more children in the future, because, as any mom will tell you, staying home with the children is hard AF!
And yet another great thing about the paternity leave policy in Spain is that it resulted in dads who are more active participants in raising their children, and they’re more hands-on. It also made them realize how hard it is to be a stay-at-home parent, even for 2 or 5 weeks.
However, a study published in the Journal of Public Economics found out that parents who had used their paid leave were 7% to 15% less likely to have more children in the future when compared to parents who didn’t use it.
Lídia Farré of the University of Barcelona and Libertad González of the University of Pompeu Fabra, the economists who performed the study believe that spending more time with their child or children made fathers change their preferences from child quantity to quality.
The costs that come with raising a child also played a significant role.
What was interesting is that while dads in Spain were giving up on the idea of having more children, the policy had quite the opposite effect on women.
Mothers started showing preferences for larger families, which is a sign that having more kids was more desirable because there was a balance of labor at the household.
And while we can’t say for sure if a similar policy will have a similar type of impact in other countries, it would be nice to be able to determine that for ourselves, wouldn’t it?