Matthew Yglesias writes:

[E]veryone from Japan to Norway to Canada [recognizes] that having a child isn’t just a random consumption choice that we should leave entirely up to the free market.

The United States still does not.

Yglesias continues:

It’s standard for countries to offer a certain amount of mandatory paid parental leave as a recognition of the special role parents play in our society (in effect, this measure lowers everyone’s wages slightly and then provides a benefit only to parents, thus enacting a small transfer of resources from non-parents to parents).

When I discuss greater state support for parents in the form of $$$, students often retort that that’s “crazy” or “impossible.”  That’s when I show them data like this.

From: Tanaka, Sakiko. 2005. “Parental leave and child health across OECD countries.” Economic Journal 115, 501: F7-F28.


Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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