News Release

Can paid parental leave help prevent newborn deaths?

Peer-Reviewed Publication


A recent analysis published in Contemporary Economic Policy indicates that 6-week paid family leave in California saved 339 infants' lives from 2004–2008.

The analysis, which relied on birth and infant death data and used all states other than California as a comparison group, revealed that 6 weeks of paid family leave—which aims to help working parents balance their careers and family responsibilities while also improving the well-being of infants—led to fewer deaths from health-related causes and had larger impacts for infants with married mothers and for infant boys. It reduced the post‐neonatal mortality rate by 0.135.

"Assuming a similar impact for a national 12‐week paid family leave plan in effect in 2020, approximately 972 additional infants could survive to 1 year of age," said author Feng Chen, PhD, an assistant professor at Liaoning University, in China.

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About the Journal

First published in 1982, Contemporary Economic Policy publishes scholarly research and analysis on important policy issues facing society. The journal provides insight into the complexity of policy decisions and communicates evidence-based solutions in a form accessible to economists and policy makers. Contemporary Economic Policy provides a forum for debate by enhancing our understanding of key issues and methods used for policy analysis.

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