Martin Hackmann Featured in the NBER Bulletin

Martin Hackmann’s article titled “The Return to Nursing: Evidence from a Parental Leave Program” was featured in the latest edition of the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health. The NBER article discusses the difficulties of quantifying nurses’ contributions to patient health.  The article then cites Professor Hackmann’s article as a much needed study to fill this gap.  Hackmann’s study discusses a Danish federal parental leave program in 1994 that gave parents the opportunity to take up to a year of paid leave if they had a child under age eight. This policy was designed to lower stress on families following the birth of a child and to give unemployed people an opportunity to fill opening positions, thereby gaining valuable experience. The policy had an unintended negative effect on the market for nursing professionals, which is female-dominated and has strict licensing requirements. The researchers are able to identify the effect of nurses on patient health and care by examining what happened after this policy went into effect. The NBER article then draws upon Professor Hackmann’s findings to conclude that there might be a misallocation of nurses between the hospital and long-term care sectors.