Child Health in Elementary School Following California's Paid Family Leave Program

Shirlee Lichtman-Sadot, Neryvia Pillay Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


We evaluate changes in elementary school children health outcomes following the introduction of California's Paid Family Leave (PFL) program, which provided parents with paid time off following the birth of a child. Our health outcomes—overweight, ADHD, and hearing-related problems—are characterized by diagnosis rates that only pick up during early elementary school. Moreover, our health outcomes have been found to be negatively linked with many potential implications of extended maternity leave—increased breastfeeding, prompt medical checkups at infancy, reduced prenatal stress, and reduced non-parental care during infancy. Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Studies (ECLS) within a difference-in-differences framework, our results suggest improvements in health outcomes among California elementary school children following PFL's introduction. Furthermore, the improvements are driven by children from less advantaged backgrounds, which is consistent with the notion that California's PFL had the greatest effect on leave-taking duration after childbirth mostly for less advantaged mothers who previously could not afford to take unpaid leave.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)790-827
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of Policy Analysis and Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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