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Preschool and maternal labour market outcomes: evidence from a regression discontinuity design

Author

Listed:
  • Samuel Berlinski

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Inter-American Development Bank)

  • Sebastian Galiani

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Washington University in St Louis)

  • Patrick J. McEwan

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

Abstract

Expanding preschool education has the dual goals of improving child outcomes and work incentives for mothers. This paper provides evidence on the second, identifying the impact of preschool attendance on maternal labor market outcomes in Argentina. A major challenge in identifying the causal effect of preschool attendance on parental outcomes is non-random selection into early education. We address this by relying on plausibly exogenous variation in preschool attendance that is induced when children are born on either side of Argentina's enrollment cutoff date of July 1. Because of enrollment cutoff dates, 4 year-olds born just before July 1 are 0.3 more likely to attend preschool. Our regression-discontinuity estimates compare maternal employment outcomes of 4 year-old children on either side of this cutoff, identifying effects among the subset of complying households (who are perhaps more likely to face constraints on their level 2 preschool attendance). Our findings suggest that, on average, 13 mothers start to work for every 100 youngest children in the household that start preschool (though, in our preferred specification, this estimate is not statistically significant at conventional levels). Furthermore, mothers are 19.1 percentage points more likely to work for more than 20 hours a week (i.e., more time than their children spend in school) and they work, on average, 7.8 more hours per week as consequence of their youngest offspring attending preschool. We find no effect on maternal labor outcomes when a child that is not the youngest in the household attends preschool. Finally, we find that at the point of transition from kindergarten to primary school some employment effects persist. Our preferred estimates condition on mother's schooling and other exogenous covariates, given evidence that mothers' schooling is unbalanced in the vicinity of the July 1 cutoff in the sample of 4 year-olds. Using a large set of natality records, we found no evidence that this is due to precise birth date manipulation by parents. Other explanations, like sample selection, are also not fully consistent with the data, and we must remain agnostic on this point. Despite this shortcoming, the credibility of the estimates is partly enhanced by the consistency of point estimates with Argentine research using a different EPH sample and sources of variation in preschool attendance (Berlinski and Galiani 2007). A growing body of research suggests that pre-primary school can improve educational outcomes for children in the short and long run (Blau and Currie 2006; Schady 2006). This paper provides further evidence that, ceteris paribus, an expansion in preschool education may enhance the employment prospects of mothers of children in preschool age.

Suggested Citation

  • Samuel Berlinski & Sebastian Galiani & Patrick J. McEwan, 2009. "Preschool and maternal labour market outcomes: evidence from a regression discontinuity design," IFS Working Papers W09/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:09/05
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Berlinski, Samuel & Galiani, Sebastian, 2007. "The effect of a large expansion of pre-primary school facilities on preschool attendance and maternal employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 665-680, June.
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    4. Norbert Schady, 2006. "Early Childhood Development in Latin America and the Caribbean," ECONOMIA JOURNAL, THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION - LACEA, vol. 0(Spring 20), pages 185-225, January.
    5. Jonah B. Gelbach, 2002. "Public Schooling for Young Children and Maternal Labor Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 307-322, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Francesca Carta & Lucia Rizzica, 2015. "Female employment and pre-kindergarten: on the uninteded effects of an Italian reform," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1030, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. Sander Gerritsen & Dinand Webbink, 2013. "How much do children learn in school? International evidence from school entry rules," CPB Discussion Paper 255, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    3. Mike Brewer & Claire Crawford, 2010. "Starting School And Leaving Welfare: The Impact of Public Education on Lone Parents' Welfare Receipt," CEE Discussion Papers 0121, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
    4. Martin Schlotter, 2012. "Educational Production in Preschools and Schools - Microeconometric Evidence from Germany," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 41, January.
    5. repec:oup:wbecrv:v:31:y:2017:i:3:p:747-766. is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Barua, Rashmi, 2014. "Intertemporal substitution in maternal labor supply: Evidence using state school entrance age laws," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 129-140.
    7. Francesca Carta & Lucia Rizzica, 2016. "Female employment and pre-kindergarten: On the unintended effects of an Italian reformAbstract: We theoretically show that when mothers need to buy childcare services not only if they work but also if," Working Papers 091, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
    8. repec:eee:pubeco:v:158:y:2018:i:c:p:79-102 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. AfDB AfDB, 2015. "North Africa - Working paper - Promoting North African Women’s Employment through SMEs," Working Paper Series 2321, African Development Bank.
    10. Campaña, Juan Carlos & Gimenez-Nadal, J. Ignacio & Molina, José Alberto, 2015. "Gender differences in the distribution of total work-time of Latin- American families: the importance of social norms," MPRA Paper 62759, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Bauernschuster, Stefan & Schlotter, Martin, 2015. "Public child care and mothers' labor supply—Evidence from two quasi-experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 1-16.
    12. Habibov, Nazim, 2012. "Early childhood care and education attendance in Central Asia," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 798-806.
    13. Mazzutti, Caio Cícero Toledo Piza da Costa, 2016. "Three essays on the causal impacts of child labour laws in Brazil," Economics PhD Theses 0616, Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School.
    14. Verónica Alaimo & Mariano Bosch & David S. Kaplan & Carmen Pagés & Laura Ripani, 2015. "Jobs for Growth," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 90977, February.
    15. Dante Contreras & Paulina Sepúlveda, 2017. "Effect of Lengthening the School Day on Mother's Labor Supply," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 31(3), pages 747-766.
    16. World Bank, 2011. "Work and Family : Latin American and Caribbean Women in Search of a New Balance
      [Trabajo & familia : mujeres de América Latina y el Caribe en busca de un nuevo equilibrio - Resumen ejecuivo (Vol. 2
      ," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12489, The World Bank.
    17. Matias Busso & Dario Romero Fonseca, 2015. "Female Labor Force Participation in Latin America: Patterns and Explanations," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0187, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    18. Martínez A., Claudia & Perticará, Marcela, 2017. "Childcare effects on maternal employment: Evidence from Chile," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 127-137.
    19. Hitoshi Shigeoka, 2015. "School Entry Cutoff Date and the Timing of Births," NBER Working Papers 21402, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. World Bank, 2012. "A Gender (R)evolution in the Making? Expanding Women's Economic Opportunities in Central America : A Decade in Review," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12468, The World Bank.
    21. Gabriela Aparicio & Paul E. Carrillo & M. Shahe Emran, 2013. "Are Sunday Babies Doomed for Life? Measuring the Sunday-Born Achievement Gap in Ecuador," Working Papers 2013-2, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Female labor supply; Argentina; regression-discontinuity; kindergarten.;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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