This dissertation is comprised of three essays: two of which focus on the impacts of changes in maternity leave legislation on women's employment status and fertility, and the third concentrates on aggregation methods for the construction of asset-based proxy measures for household socioeconomic status in developing countries. In the first essay, I explore the effects of maternity leave on labor market outcomes in six countries in Latin America (Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela). The evidence shows that maternity leave has a positive effect on the labor force participation and unemployment-to-population ratio of women of childbearing age. In the second essay, I investigate the impact of maternity leave on fertility for the same set of six countries. Results suggest that maternity leave has small negative effects on higher order births for young adult women (18 and 30 years old), while it has small positive effects on fertility for older adult women (31 and 45 years old). If we consider these two effects, the evidence indicates that increases in maternity leave duration are associated to postponing some additional births. Finally, the third essay analyzes the performance of alternative methods to aggregate data for an asset-based wealth index using ordinal variables. Despite recommendations given by previous research, results suggest a relatively similar performance of principal components analysis on dichotomized data with respect to other methods that work with ordinal variables.