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How policy matters: Germany’s parental leave benefit reform and fathers’ behavior 1999-2009


  • Esther Geisler

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

  • Michaela Kreyenfeld

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)


In 2007, Germany enacted a radical new parental leave benefit scheme that grants parents 67 percent of their previous income, and includes two “daddy months.” In this paper, we use data from the German Microcensus for the period 1999 to 2009 to explore how this reform has changed fathers’ use of parental leave. We find strong overall increase in parental leave usage among men. Two groups of men in particular changed their behavior: highly educated men and fathers who are on fixed-term employment contracts.

Suggested Citation

  • Esther Geisler & Michaela Kreyenfeld, 2012. "How policy matters: Germany’s parental leave benefit reform and fathers’ behavior 1999-2009," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2012-021, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2012-021

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Esping-Andersen, Gosta, 1999. "Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198742005, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Miriam Maeder, 2014. "Earnings-related parental leave benefits and subjective well-being of young mothers: evidence from a German parental leave reform," Working Papers 148, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    2. Stichnoth, Holger, 2014. "Short-run fertility effects of parental leave benefits: Evidence from a structural model," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-069, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

    More about this item


    Germany; family;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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