- Babies whose parents spent more time with them did better in exams in later life
- Research also found that children of less-educated parents did poorer in exams
- Study was conducted by researchers at both Warwick and Munich universities
Children whose parents take longer paid maternity and paternity leave are more likely to do better in exams — but only if they are from middle class backgrounds.
Research found that educated mothers and fathers who spend more time with their babies will help their children gain ‘large and significantly positive effects’ in their later studies.
The effect was especially significant for boys, according to experts from Warwick and Munich universities.
Researchers found that children of parents with no post-school education often achieved lower exam results — although they said the effects were not as clear.
The study showed that educated mothers and fathers, who spend more time with their babies, helped their children gain ‘large and significantly positive’ effects in their later studies
The study was unable to establish any overall effect on children’s later results from extending leave from one to two years.
However, experts were surprised to find a split based on parental education.
Natalia Danzer, deputy director of the Ifo centre for labour and demographic economics, said they were ‘robust results that stood through all types of tests’.
She added that the research was the first of its kind to look at the length of maternity leave and long-term education results, due to a quirk in Austrian politics that resulted in the length of paid maternity and paternity nearly doubling overnight.
The researchers at Warwick and Munich universities found that children whose parents had no post-school education often achieved lower exam results
Negative effects for children whose parents had lower levels of education ‘might be caused by reduced time and material resources’, partly because they left shorter gaps between having more children
The findings, which were published in the Royal Economic Society’s journal – uses data following the extension of paid leave from one year to two years in Austria for children born after June 1990.
Researches said the findings are also relevant for other developed countries, including Britain.
Negative effects for children whose parents had lower levels of education ‘might be caused by reduced time and material resources’, partly because they left shorter gaps between having more children.