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Changing maternity leave policy: Short-term effects on fertility rates and demographic variables in Germany

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  • Thyrian, Jochen René
  • Fendrich, Konstanze
  • Lange, Anja
  • Haas, Johannes-Peter
  • Zygmunt, Marek
  • Hoffmann, Wolfgang

Abstract

Changes in reproductive behaviour and decreasing fertility rates have recently led to policy actions that attempt to counteract these developments. Evidence on the efficacy of such policy interventions, however, is limited. The present analysis examines fertility rates and demographic variables of a population in Germany in response to new maternity leave regulations, which were introduced in January 2007. As part of a population-based survey of neonates in Pomerania (SNiP), all births in the study region from the period 23 months prior to January 1st, 2007 until 23 months afterwards were examined. Crude Birth Rates (CBR) per month, General Fertility Rates (GFR) per month, parity and sociodemographic variables were compared using bivariate techniques. Logistic regression analysis was performed. No statistically significant difference in the CBR or GFR after Jan. 1st, 2007 was found. There were statistically significant differences in other demographic variables, however. The proportion of mothers who (a) were employed full-time before pregnancy; (b) came from a higher socioeconomic status; and (c) had higher income levels all increased after January 1st, 2007. The magnitude of these effects was higher in multigravid women. Forward stepwise logistic regression found an odds ratio of 1.79 for women with a family income of more than 3000[euro] to give birth after the new law was introduced. This is the first analysis of population-based data that examines fertility rates and sociodemographic variables in response to new legal regulations. No short-term effects on birth rates were detected, but there was a differential effect on the subgroup of multigravidae. The focus of this policy was to provide financial support, which is certainly important, but the complexity of having a child suggests that attitudinal and motivational aspects also need to be taken into account. Furthermore, these analyses were only able to evaluate the short-term consequences of the policy; further studies are needed to assess for different, long-term effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Thyrian, Jochen René & Fendrich, Konstanze & Lange, Anja & Haas, Johannes-Peter & Zygmunt, Marek & Hoffmann, Wolfgang, 2010. "Changing maternity leave policy: Short-term effects on fertility rates and demographic variables in Germany," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(4), pages 672-676, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:71:y:2010:i:4:p:672-676
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Anita Kottwitz & Anja Oppermann & C. Katharina Spiess, 2016. "Parental leave benefits and breastfeeding in Germany: effects of the 2007 reform," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 859-890, December.
    2. Marco Caliendo & Jens Hogenacker, 2012. "The German labor market after the Great Recession: successful reforms and future challenges," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 1(1), pages 1-24, December.
    3. Kamila Cygan-Rehm, 2016. "Parental leave benefit and differential fertility responses: evidence from a German reform," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 73-103, January.
    4. 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.
    5. Kamila Cygan-Rehm, 2016. "Parental leave benefit and differential fertility responses: evidence from a German reform," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 73-103, January.
    6. Kamila Cygan-Rehm, 2013. "Parental leave benefit and differential fertility responses: Evidence from a German reform," Working Papers 142, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    7. Kamila Cygan-Rehm, 2015. "Parental Leave Benefit and Differential Fertility Responses: Evidence from a German Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 5397, CESifo Group Munich.

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