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Child care subsidies and childhood obesity

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  • Chris Herbst

    ()

  • Erdal Tekin

    ()

Abstract

Child care subsidies play a critical role in facilitating the transition of disadvantaged mothers from welfare to work. However, little is known about the influence of these policies on children's health and well-being. In this paper, we study the impact of subsidy receipt on low-income children's weight outcomes in the fall and spring of kindergarten. The goals of our empirical analysis are twofold. We first utilize standard OLS and fixed effects methods to explore body mass index as well as measures of overweight and obesity. We then turn to quantile regression to address the possibility that subsidy receipt has heterogeneous effects on children's weight at different points in the BMI distribution. Results suggest that subsidy receipt is associated with increases in BMI and a greater likelihood of being overweight and obese. We also find substantial variation in subsidy effects across the BMI distribution. In particular, child care subsidies have no effect on BMI at the lower end of the distribution, inconsistent effects in the middle of the distribution, and large effects at the top of the distribution. Our results point to the use of non-parental child care, particularly center-based services, as the key mechanism through which subsidies influence children's weight outcomes.
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Suggested Citation

  • Chris Herbst & Erdal Tekin, 2011. "Child care subsidies and childhood obesity," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 349-378, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:9:y:2011:i:3:p:349-378
    DOI: 10.1007/s11150-010-9087-0
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    as


    Cited by:

    1. Chris Herbst & Erdal Tekin, 2012. "Child Care Subsidies, Maternal Well-Being, and Child-Parent Interactions: Evidence from Three Nationally Representative Datasets," Working Papers 1372, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    2. Jo, Young, 2014. "What money can buy: Family income and childhood obesity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 1-12.
    3. repec:pri:crcwel:wp11-20-ff is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Ha, Yoonsook & Miller, Daniel P., 2015. "Child care subsidies and employment outcomes of low-income families," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 139-148.
    5. Peng Nie & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2014. "Maternal employment and childhood obesity in China: evidence from the China Health and Nutrition Survey," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(20), pages 2418-2428, July.
    6. Chris M. Herbst & Erdal Tekin, 2014. "Child Care Subsidies, Maternal Health, And Child–Parent Interactions: Evidence From Three Nationally Representative Datasets," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(8), pages 894-916, August.
    7. Brodeur, Abel & Connolly, Marie, 2013. "Do higher child care subsidies improve parental well-being? Evidence from Quebec's family policies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 1-16.
    8. Chris M. Herbst & Erdal Tekin, 2010. "The Impact of Child Care Subsidies on Child Well-Being: Evidence from Geographic Variation in the Distance to Social Service Agencies," NBER Working Papers 16250, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Thérèse McDonnell & Orla Doyle, 2014. "Maternal Employment, Childcare and Childhood Overweight during Infancy," Working Papers 201416, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    10. Herbst, Chris M. & Tekin, Erdal, 2012. "The geographic accessibility of child care subsidies and evidence on the impact of subsidy receipt on childhood obesity," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 37-52.
    11. Charles L. Baum & Shin-Yi Chou, 2011. "The Socio-Economic Causes of Obesity," NBER Working Papers 17423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Gwozdz, Wencke & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso & Reisch, Lucia A. & Ahrens, Wolfgang & Eiben, Gabriele & M. Fernandéz-Alvira, Juan & Hadjigeorgiou, Charalampos & De Henauw, Stefaan & Kovács, Eva & Lauria, Fabio, 2013. "Maternal employment and childhood obesity – A European perspective," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 728-742.
    13. Anderson, Patricia M., 2012. "Parental employment, family routines and childhood obesity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 340-351.
    14. David E. Frisvold & Julie C. Lumeng, 2011. "Expanding Exposure: Can Increasing the Daily Duration of Head Start Reduce Childhood Obesity?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(2), pages 373-402.
    15. Clive R. Belfield & Inas Rashad Kelly, 2012. "The Benefits of Breast Feeding across the Early Years of Childhood," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(3), pages 251-277.
    16. Zafar Nazarov & Michael S. Rendall, 2011. "Differences by Mother's Education in the Effect of Childcare on Child Obesity," Working Papers WR-890, RAND Corporation.
    17. repec:pri:crcwel:wp12-01-ff is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Taryn W. Morrissey, 2017. "Child care and parent labor force participation: a review of the research literature," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 1-24, March.
    19. Crudu, F.; & Neri, L.; & Tiezzi, S.;, 2018. "Family Ties and Children Obesity in Italy," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 18/09, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    20. Johnson, Anna D. & Herbst, Chris M., 2013. "Can we trust parental reports of child care subsidy receipt?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 984-993.
    21. Wencke Gwozdz, 2016. "Is maternal employment related to childhood obesity?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 267-267, June.
    22. Belfield, Clive R. & Kelly, Inas Rashad, 2013. "Early education and health outcomes of a 2001 U.S. Birth Cohort," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 310-325.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Obesity; Child care; Subsidy; Body mass index; Quantile regression; I12; I18; J13;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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