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Dynamic labour supply effects of childcare subsidies: Evidence from a Canadian natural experiment on low-fee universal child care

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Author Info

  • Lefebvre, Pierre
  • Merrigan, Philip
  • Verstraete, Matthieu

Abstract

This paper shows that a temporary incentive to join the labor market or to work more can also produce substantial life-cycle labour supply effects. On September 1997, a new childcare policy was initiated by the provincial government of Québec, the second most populous province in Canada. Licensed and regulated providers of childcare services began offering day care spaces at the subsidized fee of $5/day/child for children aged 4. In successive years, the government reduced the age requirement, created new childcare facilities and spaces, and paid for the additional costs entailed by this low-fee policy. No such important policy changes for preschool (including kindergarten) children were enacted in the nine other Canadian provinces over the years 1997-2004. Using annual data drawn from Statistics Canada's Survey on Labour and Income Dynamics and a difference-in-differences quasi-experimental methodology, the paper estimates the dynamic labour supply effects of the program. The results demonstrate that the policy had long-term labour supply effects on mothers who benefited from the program when their child was less than 6. A striking feature of the results is that they are driven by changes in the labour supply of less educated mothers.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 16 (2009)
Issue (Month): 5 (October)
Pages: 490-502

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:16:y:2009:i:5:p:490-502

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

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Keywords: Mother's labour supply Preschool and primary school children Childcare policy Treatment effects Natural experiment;

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References

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  1. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2008. "Universal Child Care, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 709-745, 08.
  2. Samuel Berlinski & Sebastian Galiani, 2004. "The effect of a large expansion of pre-primary school facilities on preschool attendance and maternal employment," IFS Working Papers W04/30, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. Siv Gustafsson & Frank Stafford, 1992. "Child Care Subsidies and Labor Supply in Sweden," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(1), pages 204-230.
  4. Kathryn Shaw, 1994. "The Persistence of Female Labor Supply: Empirical Evidence and Implications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 348-378.
  5. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2008. "Child-Care Policy and the Labor Supply of Mothers with Young Children: A Natural Experiment from Canada," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 519-548, 07.
  6. Del Boca, Daniela, 2002. "The Effect of Child Care and Part Time Opportunities on Participation and Fertility Decisions in Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 427, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Bover, Olympia, 1991. "Relaxing Intertemporal Separability: A Rational Habits Model of Labor Supply Estimated from Panel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 85-100, January.
  8. Jonah B. Gelbach, 2002. "Public Schooling for Young Children and Maternal Labor Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 307-322, March.
  9. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 1998. "Empirical Strategies in Labor Economics," Working papers 98-7, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. Francesconi, Marco & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2004. "The consequences of 'in-work' benefit reform in Britain: new evidence from panel data," ISER Working Paper Series 2004-13, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  11. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan & Matthieu Verstraete, 2008. "Dynamic Labour Supply Effects of Childcare Subsidies: Evidence from a Canadian Natural Experiment on Low-Fee Universal Child Care," Cahiers de recherche 0824, CIRPEE.
  12. Pål Schøne, 2004. "Labour supply effects of a cash-for-care subsidy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 703-727, December.
  13. Elizabeth Cascio, 2006. "Public Preschool and Maternal Labor Supply: Evidence from the Introduction of Kindergartens into American Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 12179, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Lundin, Daniela & Mörk, Eva & Öckert, Björn, 2007. "Do reduced child care prices make parents work more?," Working Paper Series 2007:2, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  15. Stephen G. Donald & Kevin Lang, 2007. "Inference with Difference-in-Differences and Other Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 221-233, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Cipollone, Angela & Patacchini, Eleonora & Vallanti, Giovanna, 2012. "Women’s Labour Market Performance in Europe: Trends and Shaping Factors," CEPS Papers 7329, Centre for European Policy Studies.
  2. World Bank, 2012. "Toward Gender Equality in East Asia and the Pacific : A Companion to the World Development Report," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 12598, January.
  3. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Sommerfeld, Katrin & Steffes, Susanne, 2013. "Causal effects on employment after first birth: A dynamic treatment approach," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-107, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  4. Abel Brodeur & Marie Connolly, 2012. "Do Higher Childcare Subsidies Improve Parental Well-being? Evidence from Québec's Family Policies," Cahiers de recherche 1223, CIRPEE.
  5. Lefebvre, Pierre & Merrigan, Philip & Verstraete, Matthieu, 2009. "Dynamic labour supply effects of childcare subsidies: Evidence from a Canadian natural experiment on low-fee universal child care," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 490-502, October.
  6. Cipollone, Angela & Patacchini, Eleonora & Vallanti, Giovanna, 2013. "Women Labor Market Participation in Europe: Novel Evidence on Trends and Shaping Factors," IZA Discussion Papers 7710, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Catherine Haeck & Pierre Lefebvre & Xiaozhou Zhou, 2014. "The Power of the Purse: New Evidence on the Distribution of Income and Expenditures within the Family from a Canadian Experiment," Cahiers de recherche 1415, CIRPEE.
  8. Abel Brodeur & Marie Connolly, 2012. "Do Higher Childcare Subsidies Improve Parental Well-being? Evidence from Québec's Family Policies," Working Papers halshs-00699671, HAL.
  9. Catherine Haeck & Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2013. "Canadian Evidence on Ten Years of Universal Preschool Policies: the Good and the Bad," Cahiers de recherche 1334, CIRPEE.
  10. P. Givord & C. Marbot, 2013. "Does the cost of child care affect female labor market participation? An evaluation of a French reform of childcare subsidies," Documents de Travail de la DESE - Working Papers of the DESE g2013-04, Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques, DESE.
  11. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan & Francis Roy-Desrosiers, 2011. "Québec's Childcare Universal Low Fees Policy 10 Years After: Effects, Costs and Benefits," Cahiers de recherche 1101, CIRPEE.
  12. Pierre Fortin, 2011. "Income Support in the Canadian Federation: International and Interprovincial Comparisons and Future Directions," New Directions for Intelligent Government in Canada: Papers in Honour of Ian Stewart, in: Fred Gorbet & Andrew Sharpe (ed.), New Directions for Intelligent Government in Canada: Papers in Honour of Ian Stewart, pages 211-226 Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
  13. World Bank, 2013. "Opening Doors : Gender Equality and Development in the Middle East and North Africa," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 12552, January.
  14. Nicholas-James Clavet & Jean-Yves Duclos, 2012. "Le financement des services de garde des enfants : effets sur le travail, le revenu des familles, et les finances publiques," CIRANO Working Papers 2012s-33, CIRANO.
  15. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan & Matthieu Verstraete, 2008. "Childcare Policy and Cognitive Outcomes of Children: Results from a Large Scale Quasi-Experiment on Universal Childcare in Canada," Cahiers de recherche 0823, CIRPEE.

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