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Family proximity and the labor force status of women in Canada


  • Janice Compton



In this paper, I examine the effect of family co-residence and proximity on the labor force participation and working hours of Canadian women. I find lower labor market attachment for married women without young children who co-reside with their mothers (those women most likely to care for their elderly mothers) and for married women with young children who live more than half a day away from their mothers (those women least likely to benefit from the availability of family provided childcare). I find no effect of proximity for single women with children on the extensive margin, but do find that they work fewer hours if they live far from their mothers. The results hold only for proximity to living mothers (as opposed to proximity to widowed fathers), suggesting that it is the mothers themselves, and not merely the home location, that drives the results. I incorporate IV estimation using province of birth and whether one was born in the same province of either parent to estimate proximity, and find consistent results. To the extent that the positive effect of close proximity is related to the availability of grandchild care, policies that impact the labor force behavior of grandmothers may also impact the labor force behavior of their daughters. Regional patterns in proximity suggest that national childcare and labor market policies may yield different results across the country. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Janice Compton, 2015. "Family proximity and the labor force status of women in Canada," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 323-358, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:13:y:2015:i:2:p:323-358
    DOI: 10.1007/s11150-013-9179-8

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bruno Arpino & Valeria Bordone, 2017. "Regular provision of grandchild care and participation in social activities," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 135-174, March.
    2. Landmann, Andreas & Seitz, Helke & Steiner, Susan, 2017. "Patrilocal Residence and Female Labour Supply," IZA Discussion Papers 10890, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Landmann, Andreas & Seitz, Helke & Steiner, Susan, 2017. "Intergenerational Coresidence and Female Labour Supply," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168282, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Andreas Landmann & Helke Seitz & Susan Steiner, 2017. "Patrilocal Residence and Female Labour Supply," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1705, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

    More about this item


    Women’s labor supply; Childcare; Proximity; R23; J13; J22;

    JEL classification:

    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply


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