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Non-Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: The Influence of Maternal Employment and the Mediating Role of Childcare

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  • Thérèse McDonnell

    (University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)

Abstract

This study uses data on Irish pre-school children to examine the influence of maternal employment in infancy on children’s non-cognitive skills. Propensity score matching addresses the issue of potential selection bias and mediation analysis is used to investigate possible mechanisms for the effect of maternal employment, in particular the role of childcare, parental stress, quality of parent-child attachment and income. Effects are identified for children from less advantaged backgrounds, with full-time maternal employment in infancy having a significant and detrimental effect on non-cognitive development at three years old. This effect is primarily mediated by childcare choices, particularly unpaid grandparental arrangements.

Suggested Citation

  • Thérèse McDonnell, 2016. "Non-Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: The Influence of Maternal Employment and the Mediating Role of Childcare," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 47(4), pages 499-541.
  • Handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:47:y:2016:i:4:p:499-541
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Maria del Carmen Huerta & Willem Adema & Jennifer Baxter & Miles Corak & Mette Deding & Matthew C. Gray & Wen-Jui Han & Jane Waldfogel, 2011. "Early Maternal Employment and Child Development in Five OECD Countries," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 118, OECD Publishing.
    2. Pedro Carneiro & Costas Meghir & Matthias Parey, 2013. "Maternal Education, Home Environments, And The Development Of Children And Adolescents," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11, pages 123-160, January.
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    4. Gary S. Becker & Casey B. Mulligan, 1997. "The Endogenous Determination of Time Preference," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 729-758.
    5. Marco Caliendo & Sabine Kopeinig, 2008. "Some Practical Guidance For The Implementation Of Propensity Score Matching," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(1), pages 31-72, February.
    6. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, May.
    7. Susan Athey & Guido W. Imbens, 2006. "Identification and Inference in Nonlinear Difference-in-Differences Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(2), pages 431-497, March.
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    9. Paul Gregg & Elizabeth Washbrook & Carol Propper & Simon Burgess, 2005. "The Effects of a Mother's Return to Work Decision on Child Development in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(501), pages 48-80, February.
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    Keywords

    early childhood; maternal employment; childcare;

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