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Do Higher Childcare Subsidies Improve Parental Well-being? Evidence from Québec's Family Policies

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  • Abel Brodeur

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

  • Marie Connolly

    (CIRPEE - Centre interuniversitaire sur le risque, les politiques économiques et l'emploi - Centre Interuniversitaire sur le Risque, les Politiques Economiques et l'Emploi, UQAM - Université du Québec à Montréal)

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the effect of a change in childcare subsidies on parental subjective well-being. Starting in 1997, the Canadian province of Québec implemented a generous program providing $5-a-day childcare 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 improvement, 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- reforms between Québec and the rest of Canada and between parents with young children and those with older children. Our estimates suggest that Québec's family policies led to a small decrease in parents' subjective well-being. Of note, though, we find large and positive effects for poor household families and high school graduates and negative effects for middle household income families. We find similar negative effects on life satisfaction for both men and women, but different effects on satisfaction with work-life balance. This suggests that fathers' life satisfaction could be influenced by their wives' labor supply while their work-life balance is not.

Suggested Citation

  • Abel Brodeur & Marie Connolly, 2012. "Do Higher Childcare Subsidies Improve Parental Well-being? Evidence from Québec's Family Policies," PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" halshs-00699671, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:pseose:halshs-00699671
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00699671
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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).
    8. 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.
    9. repec:ces:ifodic:v:13:y:2015:i:1:p:19160201 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Childcare; 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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