Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Public child care and fertility in Germany

Fuchs, Benjamin and Porada, Caroline (2017): Public child care and fertility in Germany.

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This study examines the impact of public child care supply on fertility. Microeconomic theory predicts a positive impact of the supply of affordable public child care on the decision to have a child. We utilize spatial and temporal variation of public child care coverage rates resulting from a child care reform in West Germany in 2005. With both low fertility rates and sparse public child care infrastructure in the pre-reform period, West Germany offers a suitable setting to test the theoretical relationship. Our Diff-in-Diff analysis of combined micro- and county-level panel data reveals that there is no significant effect of the expansion of public child care supply on fertility in the short-term. We neither find substantial effect heterogeneities nor evidence for selective migration into counties with more extensive expansion of public child care. In line with previous microlevel studies, we conclude that public child care expansion does not cause an immediate and strong fertility increase.

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