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Maternal Labor Supply and the Introduction of Kindergartens into American Public Schools

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  • Elizabeth U. Cascio

Abstract

Since the mid-1960s, many state governments have introduced subsidies for school districts that offer kindergarten. This paper uses the staggered timing and age targeting of these grants to examine how the childcare subsidy implicit in public schooling affects maternal labor supply. Using data from five Censuses, I estimate that four of ten single mothers with no younger children entered the work force with public school enrollment of a five-year-old child. No significant labor supply responses are detected among other mothers with eligible children. Results also indicate that at least one in three marginal public school enrollees would have otherwise attended private school.

Suggested Citation

  • Elizabeth U. Cascio, 2009. "Maternal Labor Supply and the Introduction of Kindergartens into American Public Schools," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(1).
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:44:y:2009:i1:p140-170
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Berlinski, Samuel & Galiani, Sebastian, 2007. "The effect of a large expansion of pre-primary school facilities on preschool attendance and maternal employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 665-680, June.
    2. repec:ucp:bknber:9780226533568 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. 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).
    4. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2005. "Low-fee ($5/day/child) Regulated Childcare Policy and the Labor Supply of Mothers with Young Children: A Natural Experiment from Canada," CIRANO Working Papers 2005s-09, CIRANO.
    5. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number moff03-1, May.
    6. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "Introduction to "Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States"," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 1-14, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Wenjui Han & Jane Waldfogel, 2001. "Child Care Costs and Women's Employment: A Comparison of Single and Married Mothers With Pre‐School‐Aged Children," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 82(3), pages 552-568, September.
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