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Child Care Subsidies and Childhood Obesity

  • Herbst, Chris M.

    ()

    (Arizona State University)

  • Tekin, Erdal

    ()

    (American University)

Child care subsidies play a critical role in facilitating the transition of disadvantaged mothers from welfare to work. However, little is known about the influence of these policies on children's health and well-being. In this paper, we study the impact of subsidy receipt on low-income children's weight outcomes in the fall and spring of kindergarten. The goals of our empirical analysis are twofold. We first utilize standard OLS and fixed effects methods to explore body mass index as well as measures of overweight and obesity. We then turn to quantile regression to address the possibility that subsidy receipt has heterogeneous effects on children's weight at different points in the BMI distribution. Results suggest that subsidy receipt is associated with increases in BMI and a greater likelihood of being overweight and obese. We also find substantial variation in subsidy effects across the BMI distribution. In particular, child care subsidies have no effect on BMI at the lower end of the distribution, inconsistent effects in the middle of the distribution, and large effects at the top of the distribution. Our results point to the use of non-parental child care, particularly center-based services, as the key mechanism through which subsidies influence children's weight outcomes.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4255.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Review of Economics of the Household, 2011, 9 (3), 349 - 378
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4255
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  1. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 1998. "Empirical Strategies in Labor Economics," Working Papers 780, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. Herbst, Chris M. & Tekin, Erdal, 2008. "Child Care Subsidies and Child Development," IZA Discussion Papers 3836, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Herbst, Chris M., 2008. "Who are the eligible non-recipients of child care subsidies?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 1037-1054, September.
  4. Koenker,Roger, 2005. "Quantile Regression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521845731.
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  13. Naci Mocan & Erdal Tekin, 2011. "Obesity, Self-Esteem and Wages," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Obesity, pages 349-380 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Phipps, Shelley A. & Lethbridge, Lynn & Burton, Peter, 2006. "Long-run consequences of parental paid work hours for child overweight status in Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 977-986, February.
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  18. Raquel Bernal & Michael P. Keane, 2011. "Child Care Choices and Children’s Cognitive Achievement: The Case of Single Mothers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(3), pages 459 - 512.
  19. Tekin, Erdal, 2005. "Child care subsidy receipt, employment, and child care choices of single mothers," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 1-6, October.
  20. Moshe Buchinsky, 1998. "Recent Advances in Quantile Regression Models: A Practical Guideline for Empirical Research," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 88-126.
  21. David M. Blau, 1999. "The Effect of Child Care Characteristics on Child Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(4), pages 786-822.
  22. Jaume Garcia & Pedro J. Hernández & Ángel López Nicolás, 1998. "How wide is the gap? An investigation of gender wage differences using quantile regression," Economics Working Papers 287, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  23. Jason Abrevaya, 2001. "The effects of demographics and maternal behavior on the distribution of birth outcomes," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 247-257.
  24. Tekin, Erdal, 2003. "Child Care Subsidies, Wages, And Employment of Single Mothers," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 200, Royal Economic Society.
  25. Courtemanche, Charles, 2008. "Working Yourself to Death? The Relationship Between Work Hours and Obesity," MPRA Paper 25324, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  26. Buchinsky, Moshe, 1994. "Changes in the U.S. Wage Structure 1963-1987: Application of Quantile Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 405-58, March.
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