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Working mothers’ decisions on childcare: the case of Spain


  • María Suárez



This paper aims to analyze household decisions regarding the childcare of young children. We present two specifications. The first one assumes a sequential decision process. Firstly, parents choose between paid or unpaid care and, secondly, those who opt for paid childcare must decide whether to take their children to a nursery or pre-school or employ somebody to care for them. The second specification is a multinomial Logit in which it is assumed that parents choose from three alternatives: unpaid care, paid care by a nanny, and center-based care. We apply our models to a sample of working mothers with children under three. The database used is the 2008–2010 Spanish Survey of Quality of Working Life (Encuesta de Calidad de Vida en el Trabajo). The results are in line with previous work: Parental education, family composition, income and the characteristics of the mother’s job are important factors in determining the type of childcare chosen for under-three-year-olds. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Suggested Citation

  • María Suárez, 2013. "Working mothers’ decisions on childcare: the case of Spain," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 545-561, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:11:y:2013:i:4:p:545-561 DOI: 10.1007/s11150-013-9189-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 279-288, Part II, .
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    4. Ribar, David C, 1995. "A Structural Model of Child Care and the Labor Supply of Married Women," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(3), pages 558-597, July.
    5. García-Mainar, Inmaculada & Molina, José Alberto & Montuenga, Víctor M., 2009. "Intra-Household Time Allocation: Gender Differences in Caring for Children," IZA Discussion Papers 4188, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Hans G. Bloemen & Silvia Pasqua & Elena G. F. Stancanelli, 2008. "An Empirical Analysis Of The Time Allocation Of Italian Couples: Are Italian Men Irresponsive?," CHILD Working Papers wp18_08, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
    7. Lisa M. Powell, 2002. "Joint Labor Supply and Childcare Choice Decisions of Married Mothers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(1), pages 106-128.
    8. Cristina Borra, 2010. "Childcare cost and Spanish mother’s labour force participation," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 194(3), pages 9-40, October.
    9. Daniela Del Boca & Marilena Locatelli & Daniela Vuri, 2005. "Child-Care Choices by Working Mothers: The Case of Italy," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 453-477, December.
    10. Fernandez, Cristina & Sevilla-Sanz, Almudena, 2006. "Social norms and household time allocation," IESE Research Papers D/648, IESE Business School.
    11. 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.
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    13. Denise Doiron & Guyonne Kalb, 2005. "Demands for Child Care and Household Labour Supply in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 81(254), pages 215-236, September.
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    15. Rachel Connelly & Jean Kimmel, 2009. "Spousal influences on parents’ non-market time choices," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 361-394, December.
    16. Cristina Borra & Luis Palma, 2009. "Child Care Choices in Spain," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 30(4), pages 323-338, December.
    17. Edwin van Gameren & Ingrid Ooms, 2009. "Childcare and labor force participation in the Netherlands: the importance of attitudes and opinions," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 395-421, December.
    18. Ainhoa Herrarte & Julián Moral-Carcedo & Felipe Sáez, 2012. "The impact of childbirth on Spanish women’s decisions to leave the labor market," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 441-468, September.
    19. Alan Duncan & Gillian Paull & Jayne Taylor, 2001. "Mothers' employment and the use of childcare in the UK," IFS Working Papers W01/23, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    20. Bridget G. Hiedemann & Jutta M. Joesch, 2002. "The demand for nonrelative child care among families with infants and toddlers: A double-hurdle approach," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(3), pages 495-526.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vincenzo Galasso & Paola Profeta & Chiara Pronzato & Francesco Billari, 2017. "Information and Women’s Intentions: Experimental Evidence About Child Care," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 33(1), pages 109-128, February.

    More about this item


    Childcare choice; Probit with selection; Multinomial Logit; J13; C25;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities


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