Decomposing the Determinants of Fathers’ Parental Leave Use: Evidence from migration between Finland and Sweden

The use of parental leave by fathers varies notably between countries. However, the underlying reasons for cross-country differences have not been explicitly studied. We use migration between Finland and Sweden as an instrument to decompose the role of policy design and social norms in the differences in take-up rates between these two countries. First, by looking at fathers from the same country of origin in various policy contexts, we infer the role of policy. Second, by examining fathers who migrated at different ages and fathers with spouses of different origins, we deduce the role of norms. We find that the large cross-country differences in fathers’ use of parental leave between Finland and Sweden stem mainly from differences in policy design. Norms seem to play a smaller, but still significant, role.