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The Parental Leave Benefit Reform in Germany: Costs and Labour Market Outcomes of Moving towards the Scandinavian Model

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  • C. Katharina Spieß
  • Katharina Wrohlich

Abstract

Germany is known to have one of the lowest fertility rates among Western European countries and also relatively low employment rates of mothers with young children. Although these trends have been observed during the last decades, the German public has only recently begun discussing these issues. In order to reverse these trends, the German government recently passed a reform of the parental leave benefit system in line with the Scandinavian model. The core piece of the reform is the replacement of the existing means-tested parental leave benefit by a wage-dependent benefit for the period of one year. In this paper we simulate fiscal costs and expected labour market outcomes of this reform. Based on a micro-simulation model for Germany we calculate first-round effects, which assume no behavioural changes and second-round effects, where we take labour supply changes into account. Our results show that on average all income groups, couples and single households, benefit from the reform. The calculation of overall costs of the reform shows that the additional costs are moderate. As far as the labour market behaviour of parents is concerned, we find no significant changes of labour market outcomes in the first year after birth. However, in the second year, mothers increase their working hours and labour market participation significantly. Our results suggest that the reform will achieve one of its aims, namely the increase in the labour market participation of mothers with young children.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 630.

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Length: 22 p.
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp630

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Keywords: female labour supply; parental leave; micro simulation study;

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References

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  1. Viktor Steiner & Katharina Wrohlich, 2006. "Introducing Family Tax Splitting in Germany: How Would It Affect the Income Distribution and Work Incentives," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 612, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. James W. Albrecht & Per-Anders Edin & Marianne Sundström & Susan B. Vroman, 1999. "Career Interruptions and Subsequent Earnings: A Reexamination Using Swedish Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(2), pages 294-311.
  3. Jan M. Hoem, 2005. "Why does Sweden have such high fertility?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 13(22), pages 559-572, November.
  4. Ronsen, Marit & Sundstrom, Marianne, 1996. "Maternal Employment in Scandinavia: A Comparison of the After-Birth Employment Activity of Norwegian and Swedish Women," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 267-85, August.
  5. Gutierrez-Domenech, Maria, 2005. "Employment after motherhood: a European comparison," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 99-123, February.
  6. Jane Waldfogel, 1998. "Understanding the "Family Gap" in Pay for Women with Children," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 137-156, Winter.
  7. Yoshio Higuchi & Jane Waldfogel & Masahiro Abe, 1999. "Family leave policies and women's retention after childbirth: Evidence from the United States, Britain, and Japan," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 523-545.
  8. Jan M. Hoem & Alexia Prskawetz & Gerda R. Neyer, 2001. "Autonomy or conservative adjustment? The effect of public policies and educational attainment on third births in Austria," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-016, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  9. Ondrich, Jan & Spiess, C Katharina & Yang, Qing, 1996. "Barefoot and in a German Kitchen: Federal Parental Leave and Benefit Policy and the Return to Work after Childbirth in Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 247-66, August.
  10. Marit RÃnsen & Marianne SundstrÃm, 1996. "Maternal employment in Scandinavia: A comparison of the after-birth employment activity of Norwegian and Swedish women," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 267-285.
  11. Rafael Lalive & Josef Zweimüller, . "Does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return-to-Work? Evidence from a ”True Natural Experiment”," IEW - Working Papers 242, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  12. Jacob Klerman & Arleen Leibowitz, 1999. "Job continuity among new mothers," Demography, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 145-155, May.
  13. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1996. "The Economic Consequences of Parental Leave Mandates: Lessons from Europe," NBER Working Papers 5688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Viktor Steiner & Katharina Wrohlich, 2004. "Household Taxation, Income Splitting and Labor Supply Incentives: A Microsimulation Study for Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 421, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  15. Gustafsson, Siv S, et al, 1996. "Women's Labor Force Transitions in Connection with Childbirth: A Panel Data Comparison between Germany, Sweden and Great Britain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 223-46, August.
  16. Jan Ondrich & C. Spiess & Qing Yang & Gert Wagner, 2003. "The Liberalization of Maternity Leave Policy and the Return to Work after Childbirth in Germany," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 77-110, January.
  17. Hashimoto, Masanori & Percy, Rick & Schoellner, Teresa & Weinberg, Bruce A., 2004. "The Long and Short of It: Maternity Leave Coverage and Women’s Labor Market Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 1207, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  22. Katharina Wrohlich, 2008. "The excess demand for subsidized child care in Germany," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(10), pages 1217-1228.
  23. Duvander, Ann-Zofie & Ferrarini, Tommy & Thalberg, Sara, 2005. "Swedish parental leave and gender equality - Achievements and reform challenges in a European perspective," Arbetsrapport, Institute for Futures Studies 2005:11, Institute for Futures Studies.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Beatrice Scheubel, 2014. "Does It Pay To Be a Woman?: Labour Demand Effects of Maternity-Related Job Protection and Replacement Incomes," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 685, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  2. Drasch, Katrin, 2011. "Do changing institutional settings matter? : educational attainment and family related employment interruptions in Germany," IAB Discussion Paper 201113, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  3. Irene Lapuerta & Pau Baizán & María González, 2011. "Individual and Institutional Constraints: An Analysis of Parental Leave Use and Duration in Spain," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 185-210, April.
  4. Caliendo, Marco, 2009. "Income support systems, labor market policies and labor supply: the German experience," Working Paper Series, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy 2009:26, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.

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