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Parental Leave Policies and Child Care Time in Couples after Childbirth

  • Pia S. Schober

This research explores how different parental leave reforms in West Germany impacted on the time mothers and fathers in couples spent on child care. I investigate indirect effects through mothers' labor market return decisions more in detail than previous studies and also examine potential direct associations of reforms of the leave period and benefits with maternal and paternal care time. The analysis uses multilevel multiprocess models for 1299 couples with a first or second birth based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (1984-2009). I estimate simultaneously the timing and extent of mothers' labor market return, selection into childbearing, and maternal and paternal child care time over the years following a first or second birth. The findings suggest that the extensions of the maximum period of low-paid or unpaid leave between 1986 and 1992 and the introduction of shorter well-paid leave and two 'daddy months' in 2007 indirectly affected maternal and paternal child care through changes in mothers' work return decisions. Even after controlling for these indirect effects and fathers' take-up of leave, the parental leave extensions were directly associated with longer maternal care time on weekdays, whereas father involvement in child care increased after the 2007 reform.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.394459.de/diw_sp0434.pdf
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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 434.

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Length: 40 p.
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp434
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  1. Chiara Pronzato, 2008. "Return to work after childbirth: Does parental leave matter in Europe?," Working Papers 014, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
  2. Suzanne Bianchi, 2000. "Maternal employment and time with children: Dramatic change or surprising continuity?," Demography, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 401-414, November.
  3. C. Katharina Spiess & Jan Ondrich & Qing Yang, 1996. "Barefoot and in a German kitchen: Federal parental leave and benefit policy and the return to work after childbirth in Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 247-266.
  4. Ursula Henz, 2008. "Gender roles and values of children: Childless Couples in East and West Germany," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(39), pages 1451-1500, August.
  5. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1996. "The Economic Consequences of Parental Leave Mandates: Lessons from Europe," NBER Working Papers 5688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Lyn Craig, 2007. "How Employed Mothers in Australia Find Time for Both Market Work and Childcare," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 69-87, March.
  7. Pylkkänen, Elina & Smith, Nina, 2004. "The Impact of Family-Friendly Policies in Denmark and Sweden on Mothers' Career Interruptions Due to Childbirth," IZA Discussion Papers 1050, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Pronzato, Chiara, 2007. "Return to work after childbirth: does parental leave matter in Europe?," ISER Working Paper Series 2007-30, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  9. Pia S. Schober, 2011. "Maternal Labor Market Return, Parental Leave Policies, and Gender Inequality in Housework," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 422, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  10. Annette Bergemann & Regina T. Riphahn, 2010. "The Introduction of a Short-Term Earnings-Related Parental Leave Benefit System and Differential Employment Effects," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 315, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  11. Reich, Nora, 2010. "Who cares? Determinants of the fathers' use of parental leave in Germany," HWWI Research Papers 1-31, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
  12. Shelly Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak, 1996. "Bargaining and Distribution in Marriage," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 139-158, Fall.
  13. Jan Ondrich & C. Spiess & Qing Yang & Gert Wagner, 2003. "The Liberalization of Maternity Leave Policy and the Return to Work after Childbirth in Germany," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 77-110, January.
  14. Yoshio Higuchi & Jane Waldfogel & Masahiro Abe, 1999. "Family leave policies and women's retention after childbirth: Evidence from the United States, Britain, and Japan," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 523-545.
  15. 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).
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