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Universal Childcare, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being

Author

Listed:
  • Michael Baker
  • Jonathan Gruber
  • Kevin Milligan

Abstract

The growing labour force participation of women with small children in both the U.S. and Canada has led to calls for increased public financing for childcare. The optimality of public financing depends on a host of factors, such as the “crowd-out†of existing childcare arrangements, the impact on female labor supply, and the effects on child well-being. The introduction of universal, highlysubsidized childcare in Quebec in the late 1990s provides an opportunity to address these issues. This paper carefully analyzes the impacts of Quebec’s “$5 per day childcare†programme on childcare utilization,labor supply, and child (and parent) outcomes in two parent families. The authors find strong evidence of a shift into new childcare use, although approximately one third of the newly reported use appears to come from women who previously worked and had informal arrangements. The labour supply impact is highly significant, and the measured elasticity of 0.236 is slightly smaller than previous credible estimates. Finally, the authors uncover striking evidence that children are worse off in a variety of behavioral and health dimensions, ranging from aggression to motor-social skills to illness. This analysis also suggests that the new childcare programme led to more hostile, less consistent parenting, worse parental health, and lower-quality parental relationships.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2006. "Universal Childcare, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," Working Papers id:547, eSocialSciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:547
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    maternal care; child care; lower-quality parental relationship; Quebec's $5per day childcare; childcareuse; Canada;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor

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