National Bureau of Economic Research
The authors investigate the impact of maternity leave on the cognitive and behavioral development of children at ages 4 and 5. The impact is identified by legislated increases in the duration of maternity leave in Canada, which significantly increased the amount of maternal care children received in the second half of their first year. They carefully document that other observable inputs to child development do not vary across cohorts of children exposed to different maternity leave regimes. The results indicate that these changes had no positive effect on indices of children's cognitive and behavioral development.