How does policy matter? Fathers’ use of parental leave in Germany 1999-2007

Esther Geisler, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Michaela Kreyenfeld, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

This paper studies fathers’ use of parental leave in Germany for the years 1999-2007. Our main research question is how male education links to men’s chances to take leave. Furthermore, we investigate how the family policy reform that was enacted in 2007 and that included an income-related benefit has changed this relationship. Our argumentation rests on the one hand on value change theory which assumes that highly educated individuals are vanguards of new behaviour and ideas, including an equal understanding of gender roles (Inglehart 1997). Given this, one would expect that highly educated males are more likely to reduce their working time to care for their children than others. We contrast this assumption with hypotheses derived from economic theory (Lundberg and Pollak 1994, 2003; Amilon 2007) that stipulates that highly educated men should be less likely to take leave. We use the German microcenses of the years 1999-2007. We apply logistic regression models to examine the determinants of men’s use of parental leave. Our results show that before the reform men’s education did not have a significant impact on behaviour per se. After the reform, men from all educational groups have become more likely to be on leave. However, the increase was strongest for highly educated men.

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Presented in Session 17: Time allocation between spouses