“Stress, happiness, and maternity leave at childbirth”
Mauricio Avendano Pabon, King’s College London
Abstract: This study examines the impact of childbirth on both stress and happiness. We use unique data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), which collects full retrospective life histories for women aged 50 years and older in 12 European countries. Using an instrumental variable fixed effect approach, we show that the first two years after childbirth lead to a significant increase in the risk of severe stress, while simultaneously increasing the probability of reporting a distinct period of happiness. We show that longer maternity leave entitlements leading to longer job interruptions significantly decrease the risk of stress: A period of eight weeks of maternity leave is sufficient to counterbalance the effect of childbirth on stress. Our results highlight the critical impact of maternity leave policies on the experience of childbirth and the wellbeing of working mothers.
Biography: Mauricio Avendano Pabon is a Professor of Public Policy and Global Health and Director of the Institute of Gerontology at the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at Harvard University. Before joining King’s, Mauricio was Associate Professorial Research Fellow and Deputy Director of LSE Health at the London School of Economics and Political Science (2011-2015). He has been David Bell Fellow at Harvard University (2008-2010), and Assistant Professor at the Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands (2006-2010). He is also a network associate of the McArthur Foundation Research Network on an Ageing Society.
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The seminar recording may be accessed here.