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Early Child Development and Maternal Labor Force Participation: Using Handedness as an Instrument

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Author Info

  • Frijters, Paul

    ()
    (University of Queensland)

  • Johnston, David W.

    ()
    (Monash University)

  • Shah, Manisha

    ()
    (University of California, Los Angeles)

  • Shields, Michael A.

    ()
    (Monash University)

Abstract

We estimate the effect of early child development on maternal labor force participation using data from teacher assessments. Mothers might react to having a poorly developing child by dropping out of the formal labor force in order to spend more time with their child, or they could potentially increase their labor supply to be able to provide the funds for better education and health resources. Which action dominates is therefore the empirical question we seek to answer in this paper. Importantly, we control for the potential endogeneity of child development by using an instrumental variables approach, uniquely exploiting exogenous variation in child development associated with child handedness. We find that having a poorly developing young child reduces the probability that a mother will participate in the labor market by about 25 percentage points.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3537.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2009, 1(3), 97–110
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3537

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Keywords: handedness; child development; maternal labor force participation;

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  1. David S. Salkever, 1982. "Children's Health Problems and Maternal Work Status," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(1), pages 94-109.
  2. Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan & Nancy E. Reichman, 2005. "Mother's Labor Supply in Fragile Families: The Role of Child Health," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 601-616, Fall.
  3. Paul Gregg & Elizabeth Washbrook & Carol Propper & Simon Burgess, 2005. "The Effects of a Mother's Return to Work Decision on Child Development in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(501), pages F48-F80, 02.
  4. Kevin Denny & Vincent O’ Sullivan, 2007. "The Economic Consequences of Being Left-Handed: Some Sinister Results," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(2).
  5. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," NBER Working Papers 7666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Currie, Janet & Stabile, Mark, 2006. "Child mental health and human capital accumulation: The case of ADHD," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1094-1118, November.
  7. Johnston, David W. & Shah, Manisha & Shields, Michael A., 2007. "Handedness, Time Use and Early Childhood Development," IZA Discussion Papers 2752, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Christopher S. Ruebeck & Joseph E. Harrington, Jr & Robert Moffitt, 1997. "Handedness and Earnings," Economics Working Paper Archive, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics 533, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics, revised Jun 2004.
  9. Elizabeth T. Powers, 2001. "New Estimates of the Impact of Child Disability on Maternal Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 135-139, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Judith Kabajulizi, 2013. "Macroeconomic Implications Of Health Sector Reforms In Uganda: A Computable General Equilibrium Analysis," EcoMod2013 5158, EcoMod.

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