The Parental Leave Benefit Reform in Germany: Costs and Labour Market Outcomes of Moving towards the Nordic Model

The Parental Leave Benefit Reform in Germany: Costs and Labour Market Outcomes of Moving towards... Germany is known to have one of the lowest fertility rates among Western European countries and also relatively low employment rates of mothers with young children. Although these trends have been observed during the last decades, the German public has only recently begun discussing these issues. In order to reverse these trends, the German government recently passed a reform of the parental leave benefit system in line with the model practiced in Nordic countries. The core piece of the reform is the replacement of the existing means-tested parental leave benefit by a wage-dependent benefit for the period of one year. In this paper we simulate fiscal costs and expected labour market outcomes of this reform. Based on a micro-simulation model for Germany we calculate first-round effects, which assume no behavioural changes and second-round effects, where we take labour supply changes into account. Our results show that on average all income groups, couples and single households, benefit from the reform. The calculation of overall costs of the reform shows that the additional costs are moderate. As far as the labour market behaviour of parents is concerned, we find no significant changes of labour market outcomes in the first year after birth. However, in the second year, mothers increase their working hours and labour market participation significantly. Our results suggest that the reform will achieve one of its aims, namely the increase in the labour market participation of mothers with young children. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Population Research and Policy Review Springer Journals

The Parental Leave Benefit Reform in Germany: Costs and Labour Market Outcomes of Moving towards the Nordic Model

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Social Sciences; Demography; Sociology, general; Population Economics
ISSN
0167-5923
eISSN
1573-7829
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11113-008-9086-5
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Germany is known to have one of the lowest fertility rates among Western European countries and also relatively low employment rates of mothers with young children. Although these trends have been observed during the last decades, the German public has only recently begun discussing these issues. In order to reverse these trends, the German government recently passed a reform of the parental leave benefit system in line with the model practiced in Nordic countries. The core piece of the reform is the replacement of the existing means-tested parental leave benefit by a wage-dependent benefit for the period of one year. In this paper we simulate fiscal costs and expected labour market outcomes of this reform. Based on a micro-simulation model for Germany we calculate first-round effects, which assume no behavioural changes and second-round effects, where we take labour supply changes into account. Our results show that on average all income groups, couples and single households, benefit from the reform. The calculation of overall costs of the reform shows that the additional costs are moderate. As far as the labour market behaviour of parents is concerned, we find no significant changes of labour market outcomes in the first year after birth. However, in the second year, mothers increase their working hours and labour market participation significantly. Our results suggest that the reform will achieve one of its aims, namely the increase in the labour market participation of mothers with young children.

Journal

Population Research and Policy ReviewSpringer Journals

Published: May 28, 2008

References

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