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Parental Care and Married Women's Labor Supply in Urban China


  • Lan Liu
  • Xiao-yuan Dong
  • Xiaoying Zheng


The aging of the population and the dramatic increase in women's labor force participation have made eldercare and women's labor market outcomes a subject of considerable policy importance not just in industrialized countries but also in transition and developing countries. This study examines the impact of parental care on married women's labor supply in urban China using the China Health and Nutrition Survey for the period 1993-2006. The estimates show that Chinese women confront competing demands for care, not only among elderly parents but also between older parents and their own young children. Moreover, the estimates unveil striking differences in labor market outcomes between caring for parents and caring for parents-in-law: caring for parents does not affect the caregiver's employment status and work hours, whereas caring for parents-in-law has a statistically significant, sizable, negative effect on the caregiver's probability of employment and hours of paid work.

Suggested Citation

  • Lan Liu & Xiao-yuan Dong & Xiaoying Zheng, 2010. "Parental Care and Married Women's Labor Supply in Urban China," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(3), pages 169-192.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:16:y:2010:i:3:p:169-192
    DOI: 10.1080/13545701.2010.493717

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fenglian Du & Xiao-yuan Dong, 2010. "Women’s Labor Force Participation and Childcare Choices in Urban China during the Economic Transition," Departmental Working Papers 2010-04, The University of Winnipeg, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hare, Denise, 2016. "What accounts for the decline in labor force participation among married women in urban China, 1991–2011?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 251-266.
    2. Brück, Tilman & Esenaliev, Damir & Kroeger, Antje & Kudebayeva, Alma & Mirkasimov, Bakhrom & Steiner, Susan, 2014. "Household survey data for research on well-being and behavior in Central Asia," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 819-835.
    3. Siobhan Austen & Rachel Ong & Therese Jefferson & Rhonda Sharp & Gill Lewin, 2013. "Elder care and the employment intentions of mature age women," Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre Working Paper series WP1310, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School.
    4. Meurs, Mieke & Slavchevska, Vanya, 2014. "Doing it all: Women’s employment and reproductive work in Tajikistan," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 786-803.
    5. Margaret Maurer-Fazio & Rachel Connelly & Lan Chen & Lixin Tang, 2011. "Childcare, Eldercare, and Labor Force Participation of Married Women in Urban China, 1982–2000," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(2), pages 261-294.
    6. Wei Si, 2021. "Public health insurance and the labor market: Evidence from China's Urban Resident Basic Medical Insurance," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(2), pages 403-431, February.
    7. Denise Hare, 2018. "Examining The Timing Of Women'S Retirement In Urban China: A Discrete Time Hazard Rate Approach," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(3), pages 451-466, July.
    8. King, Elizabeth M. & Randolph, Hannah L. & Floro, Maria S. & Suh, Jooyeoun, 2021. "Demographic, health, and economic transitions and the future care burden," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 140(C).
    9. Lusi Liao & Sasiwimon Warunsiri Paweenawat, 2019. "Alternative Boomerang Kids, Intergenerational Co-residence, and Maternal Labor Supply," PIER Discussion Papers 108, Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research, revised May 2019.
    10. Liu, Hong & Gao, Yuhang & Tisdell, Clement A. & Wang, Fei, 2020. "Are housing property rights important for fertility outcomes in China? Empirical evidence and policy issues," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 211-223.
    11. Fangbin Qiao & Scott Rozelle & Linxiu Zhang & Yi Yao & Jian Zhang, 2015. "Impact of Childcare and Eldercare on Off-farm Activities in Rural China," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 23(2), pages 100-120, March.
    12. Norberto Pignatti, 2020. "Encouraging women’s labor force participation in transition countries," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 264-264, November.
    13. Connelly, Rachel & Maurer-Fazio, Margaret & Zhang, Dandan, 2014. "The Role of Coresidency with Adult Children in the Labor Force Participation Decisions of Older Men and Women in China," IZA Discussion Papers 8068, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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