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Child Care, Maternal Employment and Persistence: A Natural Experiment from Spain

Author

Listed:
  • Nollenberger, Natalia

    () (IE University)

  • Rodríguez-Planas, Núria

    () (Queens College, CUNY)

Abstract

Reconciling work and family is high on many governments' agenda, especially in countries, such as Spain, with record-low fertility and female labor force participation rates. This paper analyzes the effects of a large-scale provision of publicly subsidized child care in Spain in the early 1990s, addressing the impact on mothers’ short- and long-run employment outcomes (up to four years after the child was eligible to participate in the program). Exploiting the staggered timing and age-targeting of this child-care expansion, our estimates show that the policy led to a sizable increase in employment (8%), and hours worked (9%) of mothers with age-eligible (3-year-old) children, and that these effects persisted over time. Heterogeneity matters. While persistence is strong among mothers with a high-school degree, the effects of the program on maternal employment quickly fade away among those without a high-school degree. These findings are consistent with the program reducing the depreciation of human capital. The lack of any results among college educated mothers, which represent less than one tenth of mothers, is most likely due to the fact that they are able to pay day care (even when it is mainly privately supplied), and that most of them are already strongly attached to the labor force.

Suggested Citation

  • Nollenberger, Natalia & Rodríguez-Planas, Núria, 2011. "Child Care, Maternal Employment and Persistence: A Natural Experiment from Spain," IZA Discussion Papers 5888, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5888
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Género, mercado laboral y políticas públicas en España: tres décadas de evolución
      by Virginia Sánchez Marcos in Politikon on 2015-03-05 15:13:18

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    Cited by:

    1. Asai, Yukiko, 2015. "Parental leave reforms and the employment of new mothers: Quasi-experimental evidence from Japan," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 72-83.
    2. Nezih Guner & Ezgi Kaya & Virginia Sánchez-Marcos, 2014. "Gender gaps in Spain: policies and outcomes over the last three decades," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 61-103, March.
    3. Adrián Nieto, 2018. "Permanent employment and fertility: The importance of job security and the career costs of childbearing," Discussion Papers 2018/01, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).
    4. Andreas Thiemann, 2015. "Pension Wealth and Maternal Employment: Evidence from a Reform of the German Child Care Pension Benefit," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1499, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    5. Bettendorf, Leon J.H. & Jongen, Egbert L.W. & Muller, Paul, 2015. "Childcare subsidies and labour supply — Evidence from a large Dutch reform," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 112-123.
    6. repec:lrk:eeaart:35_3_13 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Alcobendas, Miguel Angel & Rodríguez-Planas, Núria & Vegas, Raquel, 2012. "Wage and Occupational Assimilation by Skill Level," IZA Discussion Papers 6543, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Núria Rodríguez-Planas, 2012. "Wage and occupational assimilation by skill level: migration policy lessons from Spain," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 1(1), pages 1-20, December.
    9. Johannes Geyer & Peter Haan & Katharina Wrohlich, 2014. "The Effects of Family Policy on Mothers' Labor Supply: Combining Evidence from a Structural Model and a Natural Experiment," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1366, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    10. Boll, Christina & Lagemann, Andreas, 2017. "Public childcare and maternal labour supply: New evidence for Germany," HWWI Research Papers 180, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    11. Müller, Kai-Uwe & Wrohlich, Katharina & Sengül, Denise, 2016. "Does subsidized care for toddlers increase maternal labor supply? Evidence from a large-scale expansion of early childcare," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145654, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. repec:ces:ifodic:v:13:y:2015:i:1:p:19158696 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Sara de la Rica & Lucía Gorjón García, 2013. "The impact of family-friendly policies on the labor market: Evidence from Spain and Austria," Working Papers 2013-15, FEDEA.
    14. 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.
    15. Christina Felfe & Natalia Nollenberger & Núria Rodríguez-Planas, 2015. "Can’t buy mommy’s love? Universal childcare and children’s long-term cognitive development," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 393-422, April.
    16. Felfe, Christina & Lechner, Michael & Thiemann, Petra, 2016. "After-school care and parents' labor supply," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 64-75.
    17. World Bank, 2015. "Promoting Labor Market Participation and Social Inclusion in Europe and Central Asia's Poorest Countries," World Bank Other Operational Studies 22501, The World Bank.
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    19. repec:ces:ifodic:v:13:y:2015:i:01:p:16-19 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Christina Felfe, 2015. "Childcare and Child Development," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 13(1), pages 16-19, 04.
    21. 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.
    22. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    quasi-natural experiment; childcare; preschool children; mother's labor supply; differences-in-differences-in-differences;

    JEL classification:

    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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