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Now Daddy's Changing Diapers and Mommy's Making Her Career - Evaluating a Generous Parental Leave Regulation Using a Natural Experiment

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  • Jochen Kluve

    ()

  • Markus Tamm

Abstract

Over the last decades many OECD countries introduced parental leave regulations in order to counteract low and decreasing birth rates. In general, these regulations aim at making parenthood more attractive and more compatible with a working career, especially for women. The recent German Elterngeld reform is one example: By replacing 67 per cent of prepartum parental labor earnings for up to 14 months after birth of the child - if both father and mother take up the transfer - it intends to i) smooth or prevent households' earnings decline postpartum, ii) make childbearing attractive for working women while iii) keeping them close to the labor market, and iv) incentivize fathers to participate in childcare. We evaluate the reform by using a natural experiment created by the quick legislative process of the Elterngeld reform: Comparing outcomes of parents with children born shortly after and before the coming into effect of the law on 1 January 2007 yields unbiased estimates of the reform effects, because at the time when these children were conceived none of the parents knew that the regulation would be in force by the time their child is born. Our results are based on unique data from the official evaluation of the reform, which we conducted for the German government, and they show that the reform has been generally successful in attaining its objectives. In particular, we find a significant decrease in mothers' employment probability during the 12 months after giving birth, and a significant increase in mothers' employment probability after the Elterngeld transfer expires.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen in its series Ruhr Economic Papers with number 0145.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:rwi:repape:0145

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Keywords: Parental leave; natural experiment; female labor market participation;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Geyer, Johannes & Steiner, Viktor, 2007. "Short-Run and Long-Term Effects of Childbirth on Mothers’ Employment and Working Hours Across Institutional Regimes: An Empirical Analysis Based on the European Community Household Panel," IZA Discussion Papers 2693, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Muehler, Grit, 2008. "Institutional Childcare: An Overview on the German Market," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-077, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  5. Michaud, Pierre-Carl & Tatsiramos, Konstantinos, 2008. "Fertility and Female Employment Dynamics in Europe: The Effect of Using Alternative Econometric Modeling Assumptions," IZA Discussion Papers 3853, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Alícia Adserà, 2004. "Changing fertility rates in developed countries. The impact of labor market institutions," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 17-43, February.
  7. Ekberg, John & Eriksson, Rickard & Friebel, Guido, 2005. "Parental Leave – A Policy Evaluation of the Swedish "Daddy-Month" Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 1617, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Schönberg, Uta & Ludsteck, Johannes, 2007. "Maternity Leave Legislation, Female Labor Supply, and the Family Wage Gap," IZA Discussion Papers 2699, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Rafael Lalive & Josef Zweimüller, 2009. "How does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return to Work? Evidence from Two Natural Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1363-1402, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Caliendo, Marco, 2009. "Income support systems, labor market policies and labor supply: the German experience," Working Paper Series 2009:26, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  2. Julia Bredtmann & Jochen Kluve & Sandra Schaffner, 2009. "Women's Fertility and Employment Decisions under Two Political Systems - Comparing East and West Germany before Reunification," Ruhr Economic Papers 0149, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  3. 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.
  4. Mikko Myrskylä & Rachel Margolis, 2013. "Parental benefits improve parental well-being: evidence from a 2007 policy change in Germany," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2013-010, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  5. Joseph, Olivier & Pailhé, Ariane & Recotillet, Isabelle & Solaz, Anne, 2013. "The economic impact of taking short parental leave: Evaluation of a French reform," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 63-75.
  6. C. Katharina Spieß, 2011. "Vereinbarkeit von Familie und Beruf – wie wirksam sind deutsche „Care Policies“?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(s1), pages 4-27, 05.

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