Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 1135–1184 | Cite as

Fertility effects of child benefits

  • Regina T. Riphahn
  • Frederik Wiynck
Original Paper


We exploit the 1996 reform of the German child benefit program to identify the causal effect of heterogeneous child benefits on fertility. While generally the reform increased child benefits, the exact amount of the increase varied by household income and the number of children. We use these heterogeneities to identify their causal effects on fertility in a difference-in-difference setting. We apply the large samples of the German Mikrozensus and the rich data of the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). The reform effects on low-income couples are not statistically significant. We find some support for positive fertility effects for higher as opposed to lower income couples deciding on a second birth.


Child benefits Fertility Tax allowance Causal effect Difference in differences Mikrozensus SOEP 

JEL classification

J13 I38 C54 



We gratefully acknowledge helpful comments received from two anonymous referees and the editor, at the 2016 CESifo conference on Employment and Social Protection, the BGPE research workshop in Augsburg, the annual ESPE conference in Berlin, and a LASER seminar in Nürnberg. We thank David M. Blau, Kamila Cygan-Rehm, Dominique Lemmermann, Rebecca Schrader, and Caroline Schwientek for helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-NürnbergNürnbergGermany

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