Parental Leave and Fathers’ Careers

Last registered on October 06, 2020


Trial Information

General Information

Parental Leave and Fathers’ Careers
Initial registration date
September 11, 2019

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
September 16, 2019, 2:07 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
October 06, 2020, 5:09 AM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

DIW Berlin

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
JKU Linz
PI Affiliation
DIW Berlin

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
The share of fathers taking parental leave in Germany has been steadily increasing since the introduction of the so-called “daddy-months” in 2007. However, the vast majority of fathers who take parental leave only takes two months, whereas most mothers take 12 months. There is some evidence from qualitative studies suggesting that fathers fear disadvantages in the labor market if they take leaves longer than two months. These disadvantages may arise due to the violation of social norms regarding the gendered division of work and due to the signaling of lower productivity due to family orientation. We study the impact of parental leave-taking on employment opportunities of fathers and mothers using a field experiment.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Schmieder, Julia et al. 2020. "Parental Leave and Fathers’ Careers." AEA RCT Registry. October 06.
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Experimental Details


We address our research questions using a large-scale correspondence study.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
[1] Whether application received a callback, i.e. dummy variable equal to one if the application received a callback and zero otherwise, [2] Whether application received an invitation, i.e. dummy variable equal to one if the application received an invitation and zero otherwise
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
A callback is defined as a personalized phone, e-mail, or mail contact by a potential employer. This is usually a request for an interview, but employers also contact applicants asking for “more information” or state that they “have a few questions.”

An invitation is defined as a personalized phone, e-mail, or mail contact in which the potential employer expresses interest in conducting an interview.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Correspondence study design involving a between-subject design.

Experimental Design Details
[1. Collection of job advertisements:] Every week during the data collection period, we manually download job advertisements from a large online job board that were posted in the preceding seven days for our three occupations in all regions of Germany. We exclude advertisements from temporary and private employment agencies, advertisements from employers where we already applied, and advertisements that do not allow e-mail applications.
[2. Retrieving information from the job advertisements:] We automatically extract information from the job advertisement and collect it in our research database.
[3. Creating applications:] For each job advertisement, we automatically generate a fictitious application using standardized application documents. For each job application, we randomly assign the gender of the applicant, the length of parental leave, and the final grade received in the apprenticeship training using a python script.
[4. Sending out applications:] The applications are sent to the employer from a gender- and occupation-specific e-mail address using a python script.
[5. Recording employers’ responses:] We collect information on responses by e-mail, by phone (text message, voicemail), and by mail. Phone calls go straight to a voicemail, where a typical voicemail message is played (for example, “12345689 is not available. Please leave a message after the tone.”). The phone number is specific to each treatment arm, while the e-mail address is gender- and occupation-specific. The responses are carefully encoded based on pre-defined rules and recorded in our database.
[6. Responding to Employers:] To keep costs for employers at a minimum, we politely withdraw our application in the case of an invitation to a job interview or any other callback within 24 hours.
Randomization Method
Randomization is automated.
Randomization Unit
Job advertisement
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
600 in each of the 15 treatment arms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Based on power analyses using the average callback rates we observed in a pilot version of our study, we plan to send out approximately 600 applications per treatment arm. Since we have 15 treatment arms, we send out approximately 9,000 applications. With this sample size, we can detect an about eight percentage points difference in callback rates between resumes from two different treatment arms at a five percent significance level with 80 percent power.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Committee of experts at DIW Berlin
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials