Anna Raute, Queen Mary University, London

Can public policy increase paternity acknowledgment? Evidence from earnings-related parental leave


A child’s family structure is a fundamental determinant of future well-being, making it essential to understand how public policies affect the involvement of fathers. In this paper, we exploit a reform of the German parental leave system—which increased mother’s income and reduced legal father’s financial support burden—to measure the impact on the relationship contract choices of parents who were unmarried at conception. Based on detailed birth record data, we demonstrate that short-run reform incentives during the first period after birth nudge unmarried fathers into the long-term commitment of
acknowledging paternity. This shift reduces single motherhood by 6% but leaves the share of marriages at birth constant. Moreover, the change in relationship contract choices is mostly driven by parents of boys. These findings are compatible with predictions from a model where parents choose between three types of relationship contracts based on the mother’s and father’s incomes and support obligations. Our results highlight the necessity of studying intermediate relationship contracts (i.e., between the extremes of marriage and single motherhood) to improve our understanding of potential risk groups
among the rising number of children being raised by unmarried parents.

Anna Raute is  an Assistant Professor (Lecturer) in Economics at  Queen Mary University London. Prior to joining Queen Mary, she was an Assistant Professor at University of Mannheim. In 2016-2017 she was a Research Fellow at the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard Kennedy School and a Visiting Scholar at NBER.

She is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at UCL, a Research Affiliate with CEPR (Labour and Public Economics) and CESifo and Research Associate at ZEW.

Her fields of interest are in Applied Microeconomics, mainly Labour Economics, Family Economics and  Public Economics.

You can read more about Anna Raute and her research here

CEBI contact: Jakob Egholt Søgaard