Fertility, female labor supply, and family policy

The present paper develops an overlapping generations general equilibrium model for Germany in order to study the impact of public policy on household labor supply and fertility decisions. Starting from a benchmark equilibrium which reflects the current German family policy regime we introduce various reforms of the tax and child benefit system and quantify the consequences for birth rates and female labor supply. Our simulations indicate three central results: First, higher transfers to families (either direct, in-kind or via family splitting) may increase birth rates significantly, but they may come at the cost of lower female employment. Second, the introduction of individual taxation (instead of joint taxation of couples) would increase female employment but might further reduce current birth rates in Germany. Third, it is possible to increase birth rates and female employment rates simultaneously if the government invests in child care facilities for children of all ages.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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