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

Michael Neugart () and Henry Ohlsson ()

Journal of Population Economics, 2013, vol. 26, issue 1, 87-108

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

Keywords: Timing of births; Economic incentives; Parental benefits; Policy reform; J130; J180; H530; D190 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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Working Paper: Economic incentives and the timing of births: Evidence from the German parental benefit reform 2007 (2009) Downloads
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