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Do higher child care subsidies improve parental well-being? Evidence from Quebec's family policies

Author

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  • Abel Brodeur

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Marie Connolly

    (UQAM - Université du Québec à Montréal)

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the effect of a change in child care subsidies on parental subjective well-being. Starting in 1997, the Canadian province of Quebec implemented a generous program providing $5-a-day child care to children under the age of 5. By 2007, the percentage of children attending subsidized day care had tripled and mothers' labor force participation had increased substantially. Objectively, more labor force participation is seen as a positive change, bringing with it higher income, independence and bargaining power. Yet a decrease in women's subjective well-being over previous decades has been documented, perhaps due to a Second Shift effect where women work more but still bear the brunt of housework and childrearing ( Hochschild and Machung, 1989). Using data from the Canadian General Social Survey, we estimate a triple-differences model using differences pre- and post-reform between Quebec and the rest of Canada and between parents with young children and those with older children. Our estimates suggest that Quebec's family policies led to a small decrease in parents' life satisfaction. Of note, though, we find large and positive effects for lower-educated mothers and fathers and negative effects for higher-educated parents. This is consistent with an income effect boosting subjective well-being for lower-educated parents and with negative effects on child outcomes overtaking income effects for more educated households.

Suggested Citation

  • Abel Brodeur & Marie Connolly, 2013. "Do higher child care subsidies improve parental well-being? Evidence from Quebec's family policies," Post-Print halshs-01510390, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-01510390
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2013.07.001
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01510390
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    References listed on IDEAS

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

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Pia S. Schober & Christian Schmitt, 2013. "Day-Care Expansion and Parental Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 602, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    2. repec:zbw:espost:180822 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2015. "Non-Cognitive Deficits and Young Adult Outcomes: The Long-Run Impacts of a Universal Child Care Program," NBER Working Papers 21571, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Marie Connolly & Catherine Haeck, 2015. "Are Childcare Subsidies Good for Parental Well-being? Empirical Evidence from Three Countries," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 13(1), pages 09-15, 04.
    5. Camehl, Georg & Hahlweg, Kurt & Spieß, C. Katharina, 2018. "The Effects of a Parenting Program on Maternal Well-Being: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial," Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181583, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Kai Hong & Kacie Dragan & Sherry Glied, 2017. "Seeing and Hearing: The Impacts of New York City’s Universal Prekindergarten Program on the Health of Low-Income Children," NBER Working Papers 23297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Chris M. Herbst & Erdal Tekin, 2014. "Child Care Subsidies, Maternal Health, And Child–Parent Interactions: Evidence From Three Nationally Representative Datasets," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(8), pages 894-916, August.
    8. Anna Cristina D’Addio & Simon Chapple & Andreas Hoherz & Bert Van Landeghem, 2014. "Using a quasi-natural experiment to identify the effects of birth-related leave policies on subjective well-being in Europe," OECD Journal: Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2013(1), pages 235-268.
    9. Alexandra Kröll & Rainald Borck, 2013. "The Influence of Child Care on Maternal Health and Mother-Child Interaction," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 615, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    10. Arne Risa Hole & Anita Ratcliffe, 2015. "The impact of the London bombings on the wellbeing of young Muslims," Working Papers 2015002, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
    11. repec:ces:ifodic:v:13:y:2015:i:1:p:19160201 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Child care; Child care subsidies; Labor supply; Subjective well-being; Life satisfaction; Happiness; Work-life balance;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy

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