Working Paper

Fiscal family support in Germany – an inventory of measures taken by German federal governmental layers (original publication in German)


  • Rosenschon
  • A.
Publication Date

Family support is currently being given high priority in Germany. With its decisions, the Federal Constitutional Court has ensured that family support will continue to be at the center of the socio-political discussion. The lawmakers should stagger the contributions to the statutory long-term care insurance by the end of 2004 at the latest by the number of children and check whether this should be the case in the other branches of social insurance. Although the literature on family policy and theory usually argues that families are at a disadvantage and need more support, there is little data available to show the extent of fiscal benefits for families and possible funding deficits. The present inventory attempts to provide the empirical basis and brings together the family policy measures in Germany and their fiscal costs. The expenditures for the numerous family policy measures in Germany add up to 328.1 billion DM in the year 2001 and to 321.1 billion DM in the year 2000. If one includes the achievements according to the federal education promotion law and for university education, the amount increases. Of this total, fiscal policy measures account for a third of the financial volume and just under two-thirds for transfers from social security funds and local authorities. The amounts mentioned are a lower limit because not all family policy activities can be quantified. These are insufficiently documented, especially at the municipal level. There are no figures on fees and discounts for various services. The cost of having children is estimated at around DM 700 billion in 2000, which includes government education expenditure. Based on this volume, this results in a funding ratio of more than 45 percent. If one eliminates the self-financing shares, this results in a net promotion of families amounting to about one third of the child costs. The figures seem to cast doubt on the frequently-put forward thesis that there is not enough family support in Germany. Ultimately, however, politics must decide how high the fiscal advantage of families should be.

Kiel Institute Expert


JEL Classification
H53, H55, J31, J39

Key Words

  • familiy support
  • public spending
  • Tax policy