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

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  • Michael Neugart

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  • Henry Ohlsson

    ()

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 use a natural experiment when the German government changed its parental benefit system on January 1, 2007. The policy change strongly increased economic incentives for women to postpone delivery provided that they were employed. 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 to the New Year and, therefore, could benefit from the new and more generous parental benefit system. Suggesting a model of chain reactions, we also report evidence that some women with due dates earlier in December tried but did not succeed to shift births to the New Year. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Neugart & Henry Ohlsson, 2013. "Economic incentives and the timing of births: evidence from the German parental benefit reform of 2007," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(1), pages 87-108, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:26:y:2013:i:1:p:87-108
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-012-0420-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(3), pages 983-1005, July.
    2. Maria Gutiérrez-Domènech, 2008. "The impact of the labour market on the timing of marriage and births in Spain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(1), pages 83-110, January.
    3. Gans Joshua S & Leigh Andrew, 2006. "Did the Death of Australian Inheritance Taxes Affect Deaths?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-9, November.
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    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
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    9. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Timing of births; Economic incentives; Parental benefits; Policy reform; J130; J180; H530; D190;

    JEL classification:

    • D19 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Other
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

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