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Mothers’ labour market participation: Do grandparents make it easier?

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  • Bruno Arpino
  • Chiara D. Pronzato
  • Lara P. Tavares

Abstract

Childcare arrangements are key in women's ability to juggle motherhood and working outside the home. As such, the study of the access to childcare and its use is of great policy relevance. We focus on a particular kind of informal childcare, the one provided by grandparents. Empirically, assessing the effect of grandparental childcare is not an easy task due to unobserved preferences. In light of the potential outcome framework, we interpret the biases resulting from unobserved preferences as arising from the non-compliance of mothers to the availability of grandparents and from preferences of grandparents for activities other than childcare. Using an Instrumental Variable approach on Italian data, we find that the effect of grandparental childcare on mothers’ labour supply is positive, statistically significant and economically relevant. The effect is stronger for lower educated mothers, with young children and living in the North and Centre.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Collegio Carlo Alberto in its series Carlo Alberto Notebooks with number 277.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:277

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Keywords: female labour market participation; grandparental childcare; intergenerational transfers; instrumental variables; unobserved preferences;

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  1. Parera-Nicolau, Antonia & Mumford, Karen A., 2005. "Labour Supply and Childcare for British Mothers in Two-Parent Families: A Structural Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 1908, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  3. 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).
  4. Brilli, Ylenia & Del Boca, Daniela & Pronzato, Chiara D., 2011. "Exploring the Impacts of Public Childcare on Mothers and Children in Italy: Does Rationing Play a Role?," IZA Discussion Papers 5918, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Rainald Borck & Katharina Wrohlich, 2008. "Preferences for Childcare Policies: Theory and Evidence," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 827, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  6. Ralitza Dimova & François-Charles Wolff, 2011. "Do downward private transfers enhance maternal labor supply? Evidence from around Europe," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 911-933, July.
  7. Alberto F. Alesina & Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc & Paola Giuliano, 2010. "Family Values and the Regulation of Labor," NBER Working Papers 15747, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2007. "Enhanced routines for instrumental variables/GMM estimation and testing," CERT Discussion Papers 0706, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
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  12. Joshua D. Angrist, 2003. "Treatment Effect Heterogeneity in Theory and Practice," NBER Working Papers 9708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. García-Morán, Eva & Kuehn, Zoe, 2012. "With strings attached: Grandparent-provided child care, fertility, and female labor market outcomes," MPRA Paper 37001, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Havnes, Tarjei & Mogstad, Magne, 2009. "No Child Left Behind: Universal Child Care and Children's Long-Run Outcomes," Memorandum 23/2009, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  15. Ogawa, Naohiro & Ermisch, John F, 1996. "Family Structure, Home Time Demands, and the Employment Patterns of Japanese Married Women," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(4), pages 677-702, October.
  16. Jean Kimmel, 1998. "Child Care Costs As A Barrier To Employment For Single And Married Mothers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 287-299, May.
  17. Compton, Janice & Pollak, Robert A., 2014. "Family proximity, childcare, and women’s labor force attachment," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 72-90.
  18. Arnstein Aassve & Bruno Arpino & Alice Goisis, 2012. "Grandparenting and mothers’ labour force participation: A comparative analysis using the Generations and Gender Survey," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 27(3), pages 53-84, July.
  19. El-Attar, Mayssun, 2007. "Trust, Child Care Technology Choice and Female Labor Force Participation," IZA Discussion Papers 3135, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  20. Eva Garcia-Moran & Zoe Kuehn, 2012. "With Strings Attached: Grandparent-Provided Child care, Fertility, and Female Labor Market Outcomes," CEPRA working paper 1202, USI Università della Svizzera italiana.
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