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Marital Status and Full-time/Part-time Work Status in Child Care Choices: Changing the Rules of the Game

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  • Rachel Connelley

    (Bowdoin College)

  • Jean Kimmel

    ()
    (Western Michigan University)

Abstract

In an industrialized economy, it is nearly impossible to engage in market work while simultaneously caring for young children. Thus, if a mother is to engage in such work, someone else must care for her children during work hours. However, non-maternal child care is often expensive or of poor quality, making it difficult for low income mothers, (especially those making the welfare-to-work transition) to move successfully into financial independence. Our research provides new detailed information to policy makers who are interested in facilitating the welfare-to-work transition, and in encouraging efforts towards financial independence for the working poor. We fill several critical gaps in the existing child care literature by focusing on differences across marital status and between full-time versus part-time work status. Because child care utilization and expenditure patterns vary across these factors, detailed information broken down in this way will help inform the policy debate. This project serves as a direct response to the call for new child care research issued recently by the Council of Economic Advisers (1997). Much of the previous literature either focused strictly on married mothers or simply controlled for marital status with a dichotomous variable. We include both married and unmarried mothers in our analyses by stratifying our sample by marital status throughout the empirical work. In addition to the descriptive analyses, we estimate two distinct econometric models to study the differences in the effect of child care costs on employment status (by marital status) and differences in mode of child care use (by marital status and employment status). First, using predicted measures for child care prices and wages, we estimate an ordered probit model of employment status in which the possible categories are full-time employment, part-time employment, and not employed. This estimation produces separate child care price elasticities of employment for full-time employment and for part-time employment. We find that for married women, the elasticity of full-time employment, with respect to changes in the price of child care, is much larger (in absolute value) than the elasticity of part-time employment, with respect to the price of child care. On the other hand, for single mothers, part-time employment has a larger elasticity with respect to the price of child care than full-time employment. Second, we estimate a multinomial logit model to explain the determinants of the choice of child care mode, while controlling for the probability of full-time employment, given that one is employed. Here we find some evidence that an increased probability of full-time employment is associated with an increase in the use of center care and a reduction in the use of relative care. For single mothers, the effect of the price of care seems to move together for home-based care and center-based care.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in its series Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles with number 99-58.

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Date of creation: Sep 1999
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Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:99-58

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Keywords: marital; status; child care; part-time; Kimmel; Connelly;

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References

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  1. Susan L. Averett & H. Elizabeth Peters & Donald M. Waldman, 1997. "Tax Credits, Labor Supply, And Child Care," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(1), pages 125-135, February.
  2. Ribar, D.C., 1990. "Child Care And The Labor Supply Of Married Women: Reducted Form Evidence," Papers 9-90-9, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  3. Sandra L. Hofferth & Douglas A. Wissoker, 1992. "Price, Quality, and Income in Child Care Choice," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(1), pages 70-111.
  4. Patricia M. Anderson & Philip B. Levine, 1999. "Child Care and Mothers' Employment Decisions," NBER Working Papers 7058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Rebecca Blank & Craig Riddell, 1985. "Simultaneously Modelling the Supply of Weeks and Hours of Work Among Female Household Heads," Working Papers 577, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  6. David M. Blau & Alison P. Hagy, 1998. "The Demand for Quality in Child Care," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(1), pages 104-146, February.
  7. Lehrer, Evelyn L, 1989. "Preschoolers with Working Mothers: An Analysis of the Determinants of Child Care Arrangements," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 251-68.
  8. Ribar, D.C., 1991. "A Structural Model of Child Care and the Labor Supply of Married Women," Papers 1-91-1, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  9. Thomas Mroz, . "The Sensitivity of an Empirical Model of Married Women's Hours of Work to Economic and Statistical Assumptions," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 84-8, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  10. Lisa M. Powell, 1997. "The Impact of Child Care Cost on the Labour Supply of Married Mothers: Evidence from Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(3), pages 577-94, August.
  11. Kimmel, Jean, 1995. "The Effectiveness of Child-Care Subsidies in Encouraging the Welfare-to-Work Transition of Low-Income Single Mothers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 271-75, May.
  12. Connelly, Rachel & DeGraff, Deborah S & Levison, Deborah, 1996. "Women's Employment and Child Care in Brazil," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(3), pages 619-56, April.
  13. Charles Michalopoulos & Philip K. Robins, 2000. "Employment and child-care choices in Canada and the United States," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(2), pages 435-470, May.
  14. Charles Michalopoulos & Philip K. Robins & Irwin Garfinkel, 1992. "A Structural Model of Labor Supply and Child Care Demand," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(1), pages 166-203.
  15. Hotz, V.J. & Kilburn, M.R., 1995. "Regulating Child Care: The Effetcs of State Regulation on Child Care Demand and its Cost," Papers 95-03, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  16. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 299-351 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Berger, Mark C & Black, Dan A, 1992. "Child Care Subsidies, Quality of Care, and the Labor Supply of Low-Income, Single Mothers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(4), pages 635-42, November.
  18. Lisa Powell, 1998. "Part-time versus full-time work and child care costs: evidence for married mothers," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(4), pages 503-511.
  19. Blau, David M & Robins, Philip K, 1988. "Child-Care Costs and Family Labor Supply," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(3), pages 374-81, August.
  20. Connelly, Rachel, 1992. "The Effect of Child Care Costs on Married Women's Labor Force Participation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(1), pages 83-90, February.
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