Becker Friedman Institute
for Research in Economics
The University of Chicago

Research. Insights. Impact. Advancing the Legacy of Chicago Economics.

Effects of Early Childhood Intervention on Fertility and Maternal Employment: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial

October 2017
Malte Sandner

This paper presents the results of a randomized study of a home visiting program implemented in Germany for low-income, first-time mothers. A major goal of the program is to improve the participants’ economic self-sufficiency and family planning. I use administrative data from the German social security system and detailed telephone surveys to examine the effects of the intervention on maternal employment, welfare benefits, and household composition. The study reveals that the intervention unintentionally decreased maternal employment by 8.7 percentage points and increased subsequent births by 6.6 percentage points, in part through a reduction in abortions.