Correlational findings

Study Heisig & Zierow (2019): study DE 2000

18-36 aged in Germany 2000-2016, born in former East Germany before and after extension of maternity leave in 1986
Survey name
N = 1112
Non Response
Interview: face-to-face


Authors's Label
Baby year reform
Our Classification
Respondents born in former communist East Germany, where paid maternity leave was 6 months since 1976 for parents with at least two children, which was extended in 1986 to 12 months for all children. Allmost all mothers used this facility and stayed home with their babies in the first year, after which alle children attended standard free day-care. Older sibblings born before the reform serve as a control in this natural experiment
N= 1: 417, 0: 695
Related specification variables
Mothers paid maternity leave
1: 12 months (later born post 1986 reform)
0: 6 months   (older siblings born pre 1986 reform)

Observed Relation with Happiness

Happiness Measure Statistics Elaboration / Remarks O-SLW-c-sq-n-11-d DM = + AVERAGE happiness of sibblings in young adulthood by length of mothers maternity leave in their first year of life
12 months (post reform)  M = 7,28 SD = 1,57
6 months  (pre reform)   M = 7,07 SD = 1,72
- difference                +0,21     -0,15

Mediators seem to be:
- personality development (among boys and low SES)
- better health (among high SES)
O-SLW-c-sq-n-11-d D% = + Compared to pre-reform born sibblings, post-reform later borns are 7,8% happier in young adulthood O-SLW-c-sq-n-11-d b = +.55 p < .01 b controled for:
- birth cohort fixed effects
- parents education
- grew up in urban area (vs not)
- current background
  - age
  - gender
- survey year

b unaffected by additional controls for:
- current living in West Germany
- number of sibblings
- born in 1986 (to exclude possible postphonement of birth)
- born in 1988 (to exclude possible effects of German reunification)
- parents accademics