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Price and quality in the UK childcare market

Author

Listed:
  • Alan Duncan

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Curtin Business School)

  • Gillian Paull

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Jayne Taylor

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

Abstract

Childcare subsidies are typically advocated as a means to making paid employment profitable for mothers, but also have important ramifications for the use and quality of paid childcare. Even if one is concerned primarily with the quantity aspect, the quality dimension cannot be ignored. This paper provides an exposition of the potential biases in estimates of price elasticities with respect to quantity that do not allow for quality variation or for the possibility of non-linear pricing structures. Using an approach developed in the demand estimation literature, a price measure addressing these issues is derived and the importance of using this measure is tested using British data. Price is found to have a negative impact on the use of formal paid care, the hours purchased and the quality chosen. However, failure to control for quality effects and non-linearities in the price measure is shown to generate significant overestimates of the price elasticities.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Duncan & Gillian Paull & Jayne Taylor, 2001. "Price and quality in the UK childcare market," IFS Working Papers W01/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:01/14
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    File URL: http://www.ifs.org.uk/wps/wp0114.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Charles Michalopoulos & Philip K. Robins, 2000. "Employment and child-care choices in Canada and the United States," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(2), pages 435-470, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Denise Doiron & Guyonne Kalb, 2005. "Demands for Child Care and Household Labour Supply in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 81(254), pages 215-236, September.
    2. Colm Harmon & Claire Finn & Arnaud Chevalier & Tarja Viitanen, 2006. "The economics of early childhood care and education : technical research paper for the National Economic and Social Forum," Open Access publications 10197/671, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    3. Del Boca, Daniela & Locatelli, Marilena & Vuri, Daniela, 2004. "Child Care Choices by Italian Households," IZA Discussion Papers 983, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Guyonne Kalb, 2009. "Children, Labour Supply and Child Care: Challenges for Empirical Analysis," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 42(3), pages 276-299.
    5. Brink, Anna & Nordblom, Katarina, 2005. "Child-care quality and fee structure: Effects on labor supply and leisure composition," Working Papers in Economics 157, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    6. Parera-Nicolau, Antonia & Mumford, Karen A., 2005. "Labour Supply and Childcare for British Mothers in Two-Parent Families: A Structural Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 1908, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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