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The Effect of Child Care on Family Structure: Theory and Evidence

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  • Stefan Bauernschuster
  • Rainald Borck

Abstract

This paper studies the effect of child care provision on family structure. We present a model of a marriage market with positive assortative matching, where in equilibrium the poorest women stay single. Couples have to decide on the number of children and spousal specialization in home production of public goods and child care. We then study how child care provision affects the equilibrium. Due to specialization in home production, the incentive to use child care is smaller for married mothers than for single mothers. We show that this increases the number of single mothers and the divorce rate. Using survey data from Germany, we also present empirical evidence which is consistent with this finding.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefan Bauernschuster & Rainald Borck, 2012. "The Effect of Child Care on Family Structure: Theory and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 3763, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3763
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp3763.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & John A. Knowles, 2003. "More on Marriage, Fertility, and the Distribution of Income," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(3), pages 827-862, August.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Stefan Bauernschuster & Helmut Rainer, 2012. "Political regimes and the family: how sex-role attitudes continue to differ in reunified Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(1), pages 5-27, January.
    5. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 27-52, Spring.
    6. Daniela Del Boca, 2002. "The effect of child care and part time opportunities on participation and fertility decisions in Italy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(3), pages 549-573.
    7. DAVID M. BLAU & WILBERT van der KLAAUW, 2013. "What Determines Family Structure?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 579-604, January.
    8. Ribar, David C., 2004. "What Do Social Scientists Know About the Benefits of Marriage? A Review of Quantitative Methodologies," IZA Discussion Papers 998, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Havnes, Tarjei & Mogstad, Magne, 2011. "Money for nothing? Universal child care and maternal employment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1455-1465.
    10. Maria Donovan Fitzpatrick, 2010. "Preschoolers Enrolled and Mothers at Work? The Effects of Universal Prekindergarten," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 51-85, January.
    11. Derek Neal, 2004. "The Relationship Between Marriage Market Prospects and Never-Married Motherhood," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(4).
    12. David Lam, 1988. "Marriage Markets and Assortative Mating with Household Public Goods: Theoretical Results and Empirical Implications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(4), pages 462-487.
    13. Mark R. Rosenzweig, 1999. "Welfare, Marital Prospects, and Nonmarital Childbearing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 3-32, December.
    14. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2008. "Child-Care Policy and the Labor Supply of Mothers with Young Children: A Natural Experiment from Canada," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 519-548, July.
    15. Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2009. "Why is the rate of single-parenthood lower in Canada than in the U.S.? A dynamic equilibrium analysis of welfare policies," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 42(1), pages 56-89, February.
    16. Bauernschuster, Stefan & Schlotter, Martin, 2015. "Public child care and mothers' labor supply—Evidence from two quasi-experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 1-16.
    17. 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).
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Rainald Borck, 2014. "Adieu Rabenmutter—culture, fertility, female labour supply, the gender wage gap and childcare," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(3), pages 739-765, July.
    2. Uwe Jirjahn & Cornelia Struewing, 2015. "Single Motherhood in East and West Germany: What Can Explain the Differences?," Research Papers in Economics 2015-08, University of Trier, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    marriage; divorce; single parenthood; child care;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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