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Fathers’ leave use is promoted
in many countries, but so far with different success. Major explanations of
different usage revolve around economic bargaining between parents and economic
constraints in the household. By using extensive register data from 1999-2009
in Finland and Sweden, this study asks whether fathers’ use of parental leave
in the two countries are determined by the same socioeconomic characteristics
on the individual and the household level once we control for sociodemographic
factors. Striking similarities in what influences fathers’ use of leave in the
two contexts are found, even though leave is used at very different levels.
Equal income of the mother and father leads to fathers’ leave but in
high-income households mother’s higher income leads to the highest propensity
of fathers’ leave. The results indicate that equal bargaining positions are
associated with fathers’ leave use but also that mothers’ stronger position
often facilitates fathers’ leave.