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The Difficult Case of Persuading Women: Experimental Evidence from Childcare

  • Galasso, Vincenzo

    ()

    (Bocconi University)

  • Profeta, Paola

    ()

    (Bocconi University)

  • Pronzato, Chiara D.

    ()

    (University of Turin)

  • Billari, Francesco C.

    ()

    (University of Oxford)

Gender stereotypes are well established also among women. Yet, a recent literature suggests that learning from other women experience about the effects of maternal employment on children outcomes may increase female labor force participation. To further explore this channel, we design a randomized survey experiment, in which 1500 Italian women aged 20 to 40 are exposed to two informational treatments on the positive consequences of formal childcare on children future educational attainments. Surprisingly, we find that women reduce their intended labor supply. However, this result hides strong heterogenous effects: high educated non-mothers are persuaded by the informational treatments to increase their intended use of formal child care (and to pay more); whereas low educated non-mothers to reduce their intended labor supply. These findings are consistent with women responding to monetary incentive and/or having different preferences for maternal care. These heterogenous responses across women send a warning signal about the true effectiveness – in terms of take up rates – of often advocated public policies regarding formal child care.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7677.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7677
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  1. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro, 2003. "Human Capital Policy," NBER Working Papers 9495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2005. "Universal Childcare, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 11832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. 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.
  6. Christian Dustmann & Uta Sch�nberg, 2012. "Expansions in Maternity Leave Coverage and Children's Long-Term Outcomes," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 190-224, July.
  7. 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).
  8. Laura Veldkamp & Alessandra Fogli, 2009. "Nature or Nurture? Learning and the Geography of Female Labor Force Participation," 2009 Meeting Papers 141, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Ylenia Brilli & Daniela Del Boca & Chiara Pronzato, 2011. "Exploring the Impacts of Public Childcare on Mothers and Children in Italy: Does Rationing Play a Role?," Working Papers 2011-038, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  10. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2004. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
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  12. Ciro Avitabile, 2012. "Does Information Improve the Health Behavior of Adults Targeted by a Conditional Transfer Program?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(3), pages 785-825.
  13. Monstad, Karin & Propper, Carol & Salvanes, Kjell G, 2008. "Education and Fertility: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 6816, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Daniela Del Boca & Silvia Pasqua & Chiara Pronzato, 2009. "Motherhood and market work decisions in institutional context: a European perspective," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(suppl_1), pages i147-i171, April.
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  18. Cochran, John K. & Chamlin, Mitchell B., 2005. "Can information change public opinion? Another test of the Marshall hypotheses," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 573-584.
  19. 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.
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  23. Bernal, Raquel & Keane, Michael P., 2010. "Quasi-structural estimation of a model of childcare choices and child cognitive ability production," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 164-189, May.
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