PFL Word Cloud

The Economics of Paid Family Leave

A virtual workshop sponsored by the

Montana State UniversityInitiative for Regulation and Applied Economic Analysis (IRAEA)
Wendy Stock, MSU Professor of Economics and Co-Director of the IRAEA and
Pamela Meyerhofer,IRAEA Visiting Postdoctoral Research Scholar


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

4:00-6:30 p.m. MST



Despite the fact that many U.S. politicians and the majority of the American public have indicated their support for paid family leave (PFL), the United States is unique among developed nations in that it does not have a national PFL program that grants workers paid time off to attend to their own or family member’s serious health conditions, or for care of a new child.  Although no national PFL policy exists, several states have passed or implemented their own PFL programs, and PFL policies are under consideration in several other states and at the federal level. This workshop will bring together a group of stakeholders including economists, researchers, employers, and policymakers to share up-to-date research findings on the impacts of PFL policies and to share insights that can inform future policy decisions, PFL research, and policy evaluation. 


Featured Presenters:    


Kelly Bedard is a professor of economics and department chair at the University of California, Santa Barbara.Bedard received her Ph.D. from Queen’s University in 1996. She is an associate editor for the Journal of Labor Economics and a research associate in the Broom Center for Demography.Her research focuses largely on the economics of education and health, including influential studies of the effects of military service on health, determinants of gender test score gaps among children in OECD countries, and the determinants of obesity in populations of immigrants to the U.S. Probably her best known paper studied the effects of a student’s age relative to his/her classmates in kindergarten on success later in life; this research was featured prominently in the popular press and in a recent bestselling book by Malcolm Gladwell. Prof. Bedard’s research has been supported by two grants from NIDDK.


Elena Patel is an assistant professor of finance at the University of Utah, specializing in public finance and corporate tax policy. Prior to joining the University of Utah, Dr. Patel worked extensively in the federal government including the Office of Tax Analysis at the U.S. Treasury Department. Her research agenda is informed based on her federal government experience, aiming to bridge the gap between academic research and public policy. Research topics include corporate tax policy, optimal tax systems, and how the tax system influences decisions for businesses, families, and individuals. She received a B.S. in economics and mathematics in 2007, an M.A. in economics in 2008, and a Ph.D. in economics in 2013 from the University of Michigan.


Christopher Ruhm is a professor of public policy and economics at the University of Virginia. He received his doctorate in economics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1984. Prior to joining UVA, in 2010, he held faculty positions at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Boston University. During the 1996-97 academic year he served as senior economist on President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor in Germany. His recent research has focused on the role of government policies in helping parents with young children balance the competing needs of work and family life, and on examining how various aspects of health are produced. He is coauthor of two books and has more than 150 pieces published as book chapters and articles in economics, public policy and health journals and is associate editor or editorial board member of five journals. His research has been cited in major national and international media outlets and he has received external research funding from the U.S. Department of Labor, National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, among many others.

Maya Rossin-Slater is an assistant professor in the Division of Primary Care and Outcomes Research in the Department of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine.  She is also a faculty fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic and Policy Research, a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a research affiliate at the Institute of Labor Economics. She received her Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University in 2013, and was an assistant professor of economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara from 2013 to 2017. Her research includes work in health, public, and labor economics. She focuses on issues in maternal and child well-being, family structure and behavior, and policies targeting disadvantaged populations in the U.S. and other developed countries. She is the recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, is the PI on several National Institutes of Health grants, and has published articles in a variety of peer-reviewed journals including the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, Journal of Health Economics, Journal of Public Economics, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Workshop Schedule: 4:00-6:30 p.m. MST

  • Welcome: Wendy Stock, MSU Professor of Economics and Co-Director of the IRAEA: "Causal Research in Policy Evaluation"
  • Maya Rossin-Slater: "Paid Leave and Health"
  • Elena Patel: "Paid Leave and Labor Market Outcomes"
  • Kelly Bedard: "Paid Leave and Employers"
  • Christopher Ruhm: "Assessing the Impacts of Paid Family and Medical Leave Laws on Employers"
  • Questions & Answers Session: Pamela Meyerhofer, IRAEA Visiting Postdoctoral Research Scholar


For additional information, please contact Dr. Wendy Stock at (406) 994-7984 or [email protected]