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

  • Michael Neugart

    ()

  • Henry Ohlsson

    ()

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

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00148-012-0420-1
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Population Economics.

Volume (Year): 26 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 87-108

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:26:y:2013:i:1:p:87-108
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  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, vol. 26(3), pages 983-1005, July.
  2. 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.
  3. Eliason, Marcus & Ohlsson, Henry, 2010. "Timing of death and the repeal of the Swedish inheritance tax," Working Paper Series 2010:5, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  4. Wojciech Kopczuk & Joel Slemrod, 2001. "Dying to Save Taxes: Evidence from Estate Tax Returns on the Death Elasticity," NBER Working Papers 8158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Eliason, Marcus & Ohlsson, Henry, 2008. "Living to save taxes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(3), pages 340-343, September.
  7. 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.
  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. 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.
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