Grandparenting and mothers’ labour force participation: A comparative analysis using the Generations and Gender Survey
Using data from seven countries drawn from the Generations and Gender Survey, we study the relationship between informal childcare provided by grandparents and mothers’ employment. The extent of formal childcare varies substantially across European countries and so does the role of grandparents in helping out rearing children. The extent of grandparenting also depends on their attitudes, which in turn relates to social norms and availability of public childcare, and hence the country context where individuals reside matters considerably. Within families, attitudes toward childcare are associated with attitudes towards women’s working decisions. The fact that we do not observe these attitudes may bias the estimates. By using Instrumental Variable techniques we find that only in some countries mothers’ employment is positively and significantly associated with grandparents providing childcare. In other countries, once we control for unobserved attitudes we do not find this effect.
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