Class Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department or Program


Second Department or Program

International Relations

First Advisor

Amanda Felkey

Second Advisor

James Marquardt

Third Advisor

Robert J. Lemke

Fourth Advisor

Dan LeMahieu


This thesis evaluates the policy-induced changes from Germany’s 2007 Parental Leave Policy reforms on new mothers’ return-to-work intentions after childbirth. In the hopes of incentivizing female labor force participation and encouraging fertility, German policymakers radically restructured the parental leave benefit system. The updated policy grants the stay-at-home parent 67% of net earnings for twelve months immediately following birth. To empirically test the effects on new mother’s employment behavior, this study utilizes the 2003 and 2009 waves of the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (GSOEP) in conducting a binomial probit regression analysis of her return-to-work likelihoods and expected speed of return. The results suggest that Germany’s 2007 Parental Leave reforms created a positive effect in encouraging new mothers’ return to the labor force as well as their expected speed of return following childbirth.