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Economic incentives and the timing of births: Evidence from the German parental benefit reform 2007

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  • Henry Ohlsson, Michael Neugart and

    ()
    (Uppsala Center for Fiscal Studies)

Abstract

Economic theory suggests that incentives matter for people's decisions. This paper investigates whether this also holds for less self-evident areas of life such as the timing of births. We make use of a nautral experiment when the German government changed its parental benefit system January 1, 2007. The policy changes strongly increased economic incentives for women to postpone delivery to the new year provided that they were employed. The incentives for women not employed were not the same, they could gain slightly from giving birth before the policy change. Applying a difference-in-difference-in-difference approach, we find very strong evidence that women with an employment history near to the end of their term indeed succeeded to shift births and became subject to the new and more generous parental benefit system. We estimate the quantitative impact to correspond to a 5-6 percentage points increased probability to give birth the first seven days of 2007 rather than the last seven days of 2006 for employed women.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies with number 2009:10.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 12 Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as Henry Ohlsson, Michael Neugart and, 'Economic incentives and the timing of births: Evidence from the German parental benefit reform 2007' in Journal of Population Economics, 2013, pages 87-108.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uufswp:2009_010

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Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
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Web page: http://www.nek.uu.se/
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Keywords: Timing of births; economic incentives; parental benefits; policy reform;

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References

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  1. Maria Gutiérrez-Domènech, 2008. "The impact of the labour market on the timing of marriage and births in Spain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 83-110, January.
  2. Eliason, Marcus & Ohlsson, Henry, 2010. "Timing of death and the repeal of the Swedish inheritance tax," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2010:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  3. Joshua S. Gans & Andrew Leigh, 2006. "Did the Death of Australian Inheritance Taxes Affect Deaths?," CEPR Discussion Papers 530, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  4. Eliason, Marcus & Ohlsson, Henry, 2007. "Living to Save Taxes," Working Paper Series 2007:8, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  5. Wojciech Kopczuk & Joel Slemrod, 2003. "Dying to Save Taxes: Evidence from Estate-Tax Returns on the Death Elasticity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(2), pages 256-265, May.
  6. Jochen Kluve & Marcus Tamm, 2013. "Parental leave regulations, mothers’ labor force attachment and fathers’ childcare involvement: evidence from a natural experiment," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 983-1005, July.
  7. Edward C. Norton & Hua Wang & Chunrong Ai, 2004. "Computing interaction effects and standard errors in logit and probit models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(2), pages 154-167, June.
  8. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
  9. Marcus Tamm, 2009. "The Impact of a Large Parental Leave Benefit Reform on the Timing of Birth around the Day of Implementation," Ruhr Economic Papers 0098, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  10. Gans, Joshua S. & Leigh, Andrew, 2009. "Born on the first of July: An (un)natural experiment in birth timing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 246-263, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Eliason, M. & Ohlsson, H., 2013. "Timing of death and the repeal of the Swedish inheritance tax," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 113-123.
  2. Kluve, Jochen & Schmitz, Sebastian, 2014. "Social Norms and Mothers' Labor Market Attachment: The Medium-Run Effects of Parental Benefits," IZA Discussion Papers 8115, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Johannes Geyer & Peter Haan & Katharina Wrohlich, 2014. "The Effects of Family Policy on Mothers' Labor Supply: Combining Evidence from a Structural Model and a Natural Experiment," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1366, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  4. Sara LaLumia & James M. Sallee & Nicholas Turner, 2013. "New Evidence on Taxes and the Timing of Birth," NBER Working Papers 19283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Sinclair, Sarah & Boymal, Jonathan & de Silva, Ashton J, 2012. "Is the fertility response to the Australian baby bonus heterogeneous across maternal age? Evidence from Victoria," MPRA Paper 42725, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Cygan-Rehm, Kamila, 2013. "Earnings-Dependent Parental Leave Benefit and Fertility: Evidence from Germany," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80021, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  7. Jochen Kluve & Sebastian Schmitz, 2014. "Social Norms and Mothers’ Labor Market Attachment – The Medium-run Effects of Parental Benefits," Ruhr Economic Papers 0481, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  8. Joshua S. Gans & Andrew Leigh, 2006. "Bargaining Over Labor: Do Patients have any Power?," CEPR Discussion Papers 528, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  9. Marcus Tamm, 2013. "The Impact of a Large Parental Leave Benefit Reform on the Timing of Birth around the Day of Implementation-super-," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 75(4), pages 585-601, 08.
  10. Gabriela Aparicio & Paul E. Carrillo & M. Shahe Emran, 2013. "Are Sunday Babies Doomed for Life? Measuring the Sunday-Born Achievement Gap in Ecuador," Working Papers 2013-2, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  11. Beatrice Brunner & Andreas Kuhn, 2014. "Announcement effects of health policy reforms: evidence from the abolition of Austria’s baby bonus," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 373-388, May.

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