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Child Care, Maternal Employment and Persistence: A Natural Experiment from Spain

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Author Info

  • Nollenberger, Natalia

    ()
    (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

  • Rodríguez-Planas, Núria

    ()
    (Queens College, CUNY)

Abstract

Reconciling work and family is high on many governments' agenda, especially in countries, such as Spain, with record-low fertility and female labor force participation rates. This paper analyzes the effects of a large-scale provision of publicly subsidized child care in Spain in the early 1990s, addressing the impact on mothers’ short- and long-run employment outcomes (up to four years after the child was eligible to participate in the program). Exploiting the staggered timing and age-targeting of this child-care expansion, our estimates show that the policy led to a sizable increase in employment (8%), and hours worked (9%) of mothers with age-eligible (3-year-old) children, and that these effects persisted over time. Heterogeneity matters. While persistence is strong among mothers with a high-school degree, the effects of the program on maternal employment quickly fade away among those without a high-school degree. These findings are consistent with the program reducing the depreciation of human capital. The lack of any results among college educated mothers, which represent less than one tenth of mothers, is most likely due to the fact that they are able to pay day care (even when it is mainly privately supplied), and that most of them are already strongly attached to the labor force.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5888.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5888

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Keywords: quasi-natural experiment; childcare; preschool children; mother's labor supply; differences-in-differences-in-differences;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Leon Bettendorf & Egbert Jongen & Paul Muller (University Amsterdam/Tinbergen), 2012. "Childcare subsidies and labour supply: evidence from a large Dutch reform," CPB Discussion Paper 217, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  2. Felfe, Christina & Lechner, Michael & Thiemann, Petra, 2013. "After-school care and parents’ labor supply," Economics Working Paper Series 1334, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  3. L.J.H. Bettendorf & Egbert L.W. Jongen & Paul Muller, 2012. "Childcare Subsidies and Labor Supply: Evidence from a large Dutch Reform," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-093/I, Tinbergen Institute.

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