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Universal Child Care, Maternal Employment, and Children’s Long-Run Outcomes: Evidence from the US Lanham Act of 1940

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  • Chris M. Herbst

Abstract

This paper analyzes the US Lanham Act of 1940, a heavily subsidized and universal child care program administered during World War II. I first estimate its impact on maternal employment using a triple-differences model. I find that employment increased substantially following the introduction of the program. I then study children’s long-run labor market outcomes. Using Census data from 1970 to 1990, I assess well-being in a life-cycle framework by tracking cohorts of treated individuals throughout their prime working years. Results from difference-in-differences models suggest the program had persistent positive effects, with the largest benefits accruing to the most economically disadvantaged adults.

Suggested Citation

  • Chris M. Herbst, 2017. "Universal Child Care, Maternal Employment, and Children’s Long-Run Outcomes: Evidence from the US Lanham Act of 1940," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(2), pages 519-564.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/689478
    DOI: 10.1086/689478
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    Cited by:

    1. So Kubota, 2020. "The U.S. Child Care Crisis: Facts, Causes, and Policies," Working Papers 2008, Waseda University, Faculty of Political Science and Economics.
    2. Corazzini, Luca & Meschi, Elena & Pavese, Caterina, 2019. "Impact of Early Childcare on Immigrant Children’s Educational Performance," GLO Discussion Paper Series 394, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    3. Gabriella Conti & Giacomo Mason & Stavros Poupakis, 2019. "Developmental Origins of Health Inequality," Working Papers 2019-041, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    4. Kunze, Astrid & Liu, Xingfei, 2019. "Universal Childcare for the Youngest and the Maternal Labour Supply," Working Papers 2019-1, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
    5. Aaronson, Daniel & Dehejia, Rajeev & Jordan, Andrew & Pop-Eleches, Cristian & Samii, Cyrus & Schulze, Karl, 2017. "The Effect of Fertility on Mothers' Labor Supply over the Last Two Centuries," IZA Discussion Papers 10559, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Herbst, Chris M., 2018. "The impact of quality rating and improvement systems on families’ child care choices and the supply of child care labor," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 172-190.
    7. Jens Dietrichson & Ida Lykke Kristiansen & Bjørn A. Viinholt, 2020. "Universal Preschool Programs And Long‐Term Child Outcomes: A Systematic Review," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(5), pages 1007-1043, December.
    8. Buckles, Kasey, 2017. "Maternal Socio-Economic Status and the Well-Being of the Next Generation(s)," IZA Discussion Papers 10714, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Ludovica Gambaro & Guido Neidhöfer & C. Katharina Spieß, 2019. "The Effect of Early Childhood Education and Care Services on the Social Integration of Refugee Families," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1828, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    10. van Huizen, Thomas & Plantenga, Janneke, 2018. "Do children benefit from universal early childhood education and care? A meta-analysis of evidence from natural experiments," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 206-222.
    11. Francesca Carta, 2019. "Female labour supply in Italy: the role of parental leave and child care policies," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 539, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    12. Carta, Francesca & Rizzica, Lucia, 2018. "Early kindergarten, maternal labor supply and children's outcomes: Evidence from Italy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 79-102.
    13. Herbst, Chris M. & Desouza, Kevin C. & Alashri, Saud & Kandala, Srinivasa Srivatsav & Khullar, Mayank & Bajaj, Vikash, 2018. "What Do Parents Value in a Child Care Provider? Evidence from Yelp Consumer Reviews," IZA Discussion Papers 11741, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Ali, Umair & Herbst, Chris M. & Makridis, Christos A., 2020. "The Impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. Child Care Market: Evidence from Stay-At-Home Orders," IZA Discussion Papers 13261, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Kunze, Astrid & Liu, Xingfei, 2019. "Universal Childcare for the Youngest and the Maternal Labour Supply," IZA Discussion Papers 12146, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Astrid Kunze & Xingfei Liu, 2019. "Universal Childcare for the Youngest and the Maternal Labour Supply," CESifo Working Paper Series 7509, CESifo.
    17. Kunze, Astrid & Liu, Xingfei, 2019. "Universal Childcare for the Youngest and the Maternal Labour Supply," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 3/2019, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.

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