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expansion of well-paid paternal leave in Finland, fathers take on average far
less leave than mothers and there are significant differences in leave take-up
among fathers. All fathers fear economic penalties for taking leave, with high-wage
fathers in particular worrying about long-term career repercussions. To assess
whether these fears are valid, and whether policies that more strongly encourage
fathers’ leave reduce its economic consequences, we analyze 1995 to 2011 waves
of Finnish register-based data and compare the impact of taking parental leave
on fathers’ wage distribution before and after the 2003 introduction of a “father’s
quantile regression results reveal that taking leave predicts lower wages only among fathers
at the bottom of the wage distribution, both before and after the reform. We
conclude that even more progressive family policies thus far fail to address the
greater economic barriers to care among the least-advantaged fathers.