Incentives to work? The impact of a 'Cash-for-Care' benefit for immigrant and native mothers labour market participation
To what extent is labour market participation of mothers sensitive to economic incentives? We answer this question by studying the effect on labour market participation of a Norwegian family policy programme that clearly has affected the incentives to participate in the labour market of mothers with small children. From January 1999, all parents with one- and two-year-old children who did not use publicly subsidised day-care became entitled to a benefit, 'Cash-for-Care' ('CFC'). The CFC reform has increased the price of publicly subsidised day-care relative to the price of own care. Economic theory of labour market participation postulates that the CFC reform would have a negative effect on labour market participation for the person most involved in childcare. The results show that the CFC reform has affected mothers' labour market participation negatively. The effects are much stronger for non-western immigrant mothers' than for native mothers. The results support the hypothesis that non-western immigrant mothers do react to changes in the relative prices of childcare and suggests that non-western female immigrants are quite responsive to changes in economic incentives.
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