The Unintended Effects of Protective Measures For Working Mothers: A Natural Experiment from Spain

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IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 18.10.2011, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Núria Rodríguez-Planas (Queens College, CUNY)


We evaluate the impact of a 1999 Spanish law that granted all workers with children under 7 years old protection against a layoff if the worker had previously asked for a work-week reduction due to family responsibilities. We find important negative employment effects of the law among mothers, and among childbearing aged women regardless of whether they had children or not. In particular, we find that after the law employers were less likely to hire mothers with children under seven. Among childbearing-aged female workers, we find that the law increased type of contract gender segregation, increasing the already high incidence of fixed-term contracts among Spanish young women. These results are robust to the use of different specifications and placebo tests. Finally, we do not find any effects of the reform on fertility, ruling out potential biases due to the endogeneity of fertility.

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