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Parental Leave and Domestic Work of Mothers and Fathers: A Longitudinal Study of Two Reforms in West Germany

  • PIA S. SCHOBER (a1)

Following two parental leave reforms in West Germany, this research explores how child care and housework time changed among couples who have just had a child. The reform in 1992 extended the low paid or unpaid parental leave period, whereas the 2007 reform introduced income-dependent compensation and two ‘daddy months’. This study contributes to the literature by examining different mechanisms on how these reforms were associated with domestic work time in couples. Based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (1990–2010), the analysis applies ordinary least square (OLS) regressions and difference-in-difference estimations. The findings point to a significant reduction in paternal child care time eighteen to thirty months after childbirth among couples with children born after the 1992 reform. The 2007 reform was associated with increased child care time of fathers in the first year and eighteen to thirty months after the birth. Changes in maternal child care and both partners’ housework were not statistically significant. Alterations in maternal and paternal labour market participation, wages and leave taking accounted for most of the observed variations in paternal child care except for eighteen to thirteen months after the 2007 reform. This unexplained variance may point to a normative policy effect.

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Journal of Social Policy
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