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Free Childcare and Parents' Labour Supply: Is More Better?

Listed author(s):
  • Brewer, Mike

    ()

    (ISER, University of Essex)

  • Cattan, Sarah

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies, London)

  • Crawford, Claire

    ()

    (University of Warwick)

  • Rabe, Birgitta

    ()

    (ISER, University of Essex)

Despite the introduction of childcare subsidies in many countries, the cost of childcare is still thought to hinder parental employment. Many governments are considering increasing the generosity of their childcare subsidies, but the a priori effect of such a policy is ambiguous and little is known empirically about its likely impact. This paper compares the effects on parents' labour supply of offering free part-time childcare and of expanding this offer to the whole school day in England using an empirical strategy which, unlike previous studies, exploits both date of birth discontinuities and panel data. We find that the provision of free part-time childcare has little, if any, causal impact on the labour market outcomes of mothers or fathers. Increasing the number of hours of free childcare to cover a full school day, however, leads to significant increases in the labour supply of mothers whose youngest child is eligible, with impacts emerging immediately and increasing over the months following entitlement.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp10415.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10415.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2016
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10415
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  1. 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, 07.
  2. Lefebvre, Pierre & Merrigan, Philip & Verstraete, Matthieu, 2009. "Dynamic labour supply effects of childcare subsidies: Evidence from a Canadian natural experiment on low-fee universal child care," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 490-502, October.
  3. Samuel Berlinski & Sebastian Galiani, 2004. "The effect of a large expansion of pre-primary school facilities on preschool attendance and maternal employment," IFS Working Papers W04/30, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias & Costas Meghir & Jonathan M. Shaw, 2013. "Female Labour Supply, Human Capital and Welfare Reform," NBER Working Papers 19007, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Elizabeth U. Cascio, 2009. "Maternal Labor Supply and the Introduction of Kindergartens into American Public Schools," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(1).
  6. Havnes, Tarjei & Mogstad, Magne, 2009. "Money for Nothing? Universal Child Care and Maternal Employment," Memorandum 24/2009, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  7. Jo Blanden & Emilia Del Bono & Sandra McNally & Birgitta Rabe, 2015. "Universal Pre-School Education: The Case of Public Funding with Private Provision," CEP Discussion Papers dp1352, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Goux, Dominique & Maurin, Eric, 2010. "Public school availability for two-year olds and mothers' labour supply," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 951-962, December.
  9. Maria Fitzpatrick, 2008. "Preschoolers Enrolled and Mothers at Work? The Effects of Universal Pre-Kindergarten," Discussion Papers 08-001, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  10. Sean P. Sall, 2014. "Maternal Labor Supply And The Availability Of Public Pre-K: Evidence From The Introduction Of Prekindergarten Into American Public Schools," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 17-34, 01.
  11. Herbst, Chris M., 2013. "Universal Child Care, Maternal Employment, and Children's Long-Run Outcomes: Evidence from the U.S. Lanham Act of 1940," IZA Discussion Papers 7846, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Berthelon, Matias & Kruger, Diana & Oyarzún, Melanie, 2015. "The Effects of Longer School Days on Mothers' Labor Force Participation," IZA Discussion Papers 9212, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Maria Donovan Fitzpatrick, 2012. "Revising Our Thinking About the Relationship Between Maternal Labor Supply and Preschool," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(3), pages 583-612.
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