Can Public Policies Break the Gender Mold? Evidence from Paternity Leave Reforms in Six Countries


We investigate the impact of paternity leave policies on gender role attitudes in the next generation. We measure gender-stereotypical attitudes using an Implicit Association Test with 3,000 online respondents in six countries. Using an RD design, we observe a significant reduction (-0.20 SD) in gender-stereotypical attitudes among men born post-paternity leave implementation. This shift influences career choices, as men whose fathers were affected by the reform are more inclined to pursue counter-stereotypical jobs, particularly in high-skilled occupations like healthcare and education. Our findings highlight how paternity leave fosters egalitarian gender norms and affects the occupational choices of the next generation.