Do Higher Childcare Subsidies Improve Parental Well-being? Evidence from Québec's Family Policies
AbstractIn this paper, we investigate the effect of a change in childcare subsidies on parental subjective well-being. Starting in 1997, the Canadian province of Québec implemented a generous program providing $5-a-day childcare to children under the age of 5. By 2007, the percentage of children attending subsidized day care had tripled and mothers' labor force participation had increased substantially. Objectively, more labor force participation is seen as a positive improvement, bringing with it higher income, independence and bargaining power. Yet a decrease in women's subjective well-being over previous decades has been documented, perhaps due to a Second Shift effect where women work more but still bear the brunt of housework and childrearing (Hochschild and Machung, 1989). Using data from the Canadian General Social Survey, we estimate a triple-differences model using differences pre- and post- reforms between Québec and the rest of Canada and between parents with young children and those with older children. Our estimates suggest that Québec's family policies led to a small decrease in parents' subjective well-being. Of note, though, we find large and positive effects for poor household families and high school graduates and negative effects for middle household income families. We find similar negative effects on life satisfaction for both men and women, but different effects on satisfaction with work-life balance. This suggests that fathers' life satisfaction could be influenced by their wives' labor supply while their work-life balance is not.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6804.
Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2013, 93, 1-16
Contact details of provider:
Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Other versions of this item:
- Brodeur, Abel & Connolly, Marie, 2013. "Do higher child care subsidies improve parental well-being? Evidence from Quebec's family policies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 1-16.
- Abel Brodeur & Marie Connolly, 2012. "Do Higher Childcare Subsidies Improve Parental Well-being? Evidence from Québec's Family Policies," PSE Working Papers halshs-00699671, HAL.
- Abel Brodeur & Marie Connolly, 2012. "Do Higher Childcare Subsidies Improve Parental Well-being? Evidence from Québec's Family Policies," Cahiers de recherche 1223, CIRPEE.
- I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
- J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
- J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-09-30 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEM-2012-09-30 (Demographic Economics)
- NEP-LAB-2012-09-30 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-LTV-2012-09-30 (Unemployment, Inequality & Poverty)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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
- 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.
- Christopher P. Barrington-Leigh, 2013. "The Quebec Convergence and Canadian Life Satisfaction, 1985-2008," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 39(2), pages 193-219, June.
- 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.
- Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2005. "Universal Childcare, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 11832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2006. "Universal Childcare, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," Working Papers id:547, eSocialSciences.
- 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.
- Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2005. "The Québec’s Experiment of $5 per Day per Child Childcare Policy and Mother’s Labour Supply: Evidence Based on the Five Cycles of the NLSCY," CIRANO Project Reports 2005rp-21, CIRANO.
- Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004.
"Well-being over time in Britain and the USA,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
- Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 616, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2000. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," NBER Working Papers 7487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Beja, Jr., Edsel, 2012. "Who is happier: The housewife or working wife?," MPRA Paper 37551, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Clark, Andrew E. & Frijters, Paul & Shields, Michael A., 2007.
"Relative Income, Happiness and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles,"
IZA Discussion Papers
2840, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
- A. Sousa-Poza & A. A. Sousa-Poza, 2003. "Gender differences in job satisfaction in Great Britain, 1991-2000: permanent or transitory?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(11), pages 691-694.
- Herbst, Chris M., 2011. "‘Paradoxical’ decline? Another look at the relative reduction in female happiness," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 773-788.
- Beja Jr, Edsel, 2012. "Who is happier: Housewife or working wife?," MPRA Paper 40533, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Alexandra Kröll & Rainald Borck, 2013.
"The Influence of Child Care on Maternal Health and Mother-Child Interaction,"
SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research
615, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
- Alexandra Kröll & Rainald Borck, 2013. "The Influence of Child Care on Maternal Health and Mother-Child Interaction," CESifo Working Paper Series 4289, CESifo Group Munich.
- Pia S. Schober & Christian Schmitt, 2013. "Day-Care Expansion and Parental Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 602, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.