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Childcare and Maternal Labor Supply – a Cross-Country Analysis of Quasi-Experimental Estimates from 7 Countries

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Listed:
  • Agnes Szabo-Morvai

    () (Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences and HETFA Institute)

  • Anna Lovasz

    () (Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences and ELTE University)

Abstract

Evidence from single country studies suggests that the effect of subsidized childcare availability on maternal labor supply varies greatly by institutional context. We provide estimates of the childcare effect around age 3 of children for 7 EU countries, based on harmonized data and the same quasi-experimental methodology, and evaluate their cross-country variation in light of key institutional factors (leave policies, labor market characteristics, cultural norms). The identification of the childcare effect utilizes birthdate-based kindergarten eligibility cutoffs specific to each country in an instrumental variables approach. We combine data on mothers from the EU-LFS, eligibility cutoffs gathered from country experts and verified using further datasets, and country-level institutional characteristics from various sources. We discuss the role of the context, timing, and the point of estimation. The results suggest that the childcare effect is the highest in CEE countries, where at this child age, maternal participation is still relatively low compared to that of mothers with older children, and leaves with job protection are just ending. We find less evidence of an impact in Southern EU countries, where leaves end at a much earlier age, and maternal participation at older child ages is low. Western EU countries also show some impact, despite the already high maternal participation rates prior to this age. Specific policy implications are derived from the results in light of the EU Barcelona targets for childcare expansion under age 3.

Suggested Citation

  • Agnes Szabo-Morvai & Anna Lovasz, 2017. "Childcare and Maternal Labor Supply – a Cross-Country Analysis of Quasi-Experimental Estimates from 7 Countries," Budapest Working Papers on the Labour Market 1703, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:has:bworkp:1703
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Givord, Pauline & Marbot, Claire, 2015. "Does the cost of child care affect female labor market participation? An evaluation of a French reform of childcare subsidies," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 99-111.
    2. Haan, Peter & Wrohlich, Katharina, 2011. "Can child care policy encourage employment and fertility?: Evidence from a structural model," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 498-512, August.
    3. Lundin, Daniela & Mörk, Eva & Öckert, Björn, 2008. "How far can reduced childcare prices push female labour supply?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 647-659, August.
    4. Ribar, David C, 1995. "A Structural Model of Child Care and the Labor Supply of Married Women," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(3), pages 558-597, July.
    5. Angela Cipollone & Eleonora Patacchini & Giovanna Vallanti, 2014. "Female labour market participation in Europe: novel evidence on trends and shaping factors," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-40, December.
    6. 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.
    7. Ewa Cukrowska-Torzewska, 2015. "She Cares and He Earns? The Family Gap in Poland," Ekonomia journal, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw, vol. 42.
    8. Jean Kimmel, 1992. "Child Care and the Employment Behavior of Single and Married Mothers," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 93-14, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    9. Connelly, Rachel, 1992. "The Effect of Child Care Costs on Married Women's Labor Force Participation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(1), pages 83-90, February.
    10. 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.
    11. Nollenberger, Natalia & Rodríguez-Planas, Núria, 2015. "Full-time universal childcare in a context of low maternal employment: Quasi-experimental evidence from Spain," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 124-136.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    subsidized childcare; maternal labor supply; institutional context;

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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