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Children of a (Policy) Revolution: The Introduction of Universal Child Care and Its Effect on Fertility

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  • Stefan Bauernschuster
  • Timo Hener
  • Helmut Rainer

Abstract

What role does affordable and widely available public child care play for fertility? We exploit a major German reform generating large temporal and spatial variation in child care coverage for children under the age of three. Our precise and robust estimates on birth register data reveal that increases in public child care have significant positive effects on fertility. The fertility effects are more pronounced at the intensive than at the extensive margin, and are not driven by changes in the timing of births or selective migration. Our findings inform policy makers concerned about low fertility by suggesting that universal early child care holds the promise of being an effective means of increasing birth rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefan Bauernschuster & Timo Hener & Helmut Rainer, 2016. "Children of a (Policy) Revolution: The Introduction of Universal Child Care and Its Effect on Fertility," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 975-1005.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jeurec:v:14:y:2016:i:4:p:975-1005.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/jeea.12158
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    1. repec:oup:jeurec:v:14:y:2016:i:3:p:639-668. is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2008. "Universal Child Care, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 709-745, August.
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    7. Blau, David M. & Tekin, Erdal, 2001. "The Determinants and Consequences of Child Care Subsidies for Single Mothers," IZA Discussion Papers 383, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Alexander Bick, 2016. "The Quantitative Role of Child Care for Female Labor Force Participation and Fertility," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 639-668.
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    11. J├╝rgen Dorbritz, 2008. "Germany: Family diversity with low actual and desired fertility," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(17), pages 557-598, July.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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