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Public Policies and Women's Employment after Childbearing

  • Wen-Jui Han
  • Christopher Ruhm
  • Jane Waldfogel
  • Elizabeth Washbrook

This paper examines how the public policy environment in the United States affects work by new mothers following childbirth. We examine four types of policies that vary across states and affect the budget constraint in different ways. The policy environment has important effects, particularly for less advantaged mothers. There is a potential conflict between policies aiming to increase maternal employment and those maximizing the choices available to families with young children. However, this tradeoff is not absolute since some choice-increasing policies (generous child care subsidies and state parental leave laws) foster both choice and higher levels of employment.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14660.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
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Publication status: published as B E J Econom Anal Policy. 2011 July 28; 11(1): 2938. doi: 10.2202/1935-1682.2938 PMCID: PMC3769194 NIHMSID: NIHMS474288 Public Policies, Women’s Employment after Childbearing, and Child Well-Being Elizabeth Washbrook,corresponding author Christopher J. Ruhm, Jane Waldfogel, and Wen-Jui Han
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14660
Note: CH LS PE
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  1. Paul Gregg & Maria Gutierrez-Domênech & Jane Waldfogel, 2007. "The Employment of Married Mothers in Great Britain, 1974-2000," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 74(296), pages 842-864, November.
  2. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1996. "The Economic Consequences of Parental Leave Mandates: Lessons from Europe," NBER Working Papers 5688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Berger, Mark C & Black, Dan A, 1992. "Child Care Subsidies, Quality of Care, and the Labor Supply of Low-Income, Single Mothers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(4), pages 635-42, November.
  4. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2004. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  5. Steven J. Haider & Alison Jacknowitz & Robert F. Schoeni, 2002. "Welfare Work Requirements and Individual Well-being: Evidence from the Effects on Breastfeeding," Working Papers 02-01, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  6. Patricia M. Anderson & Philip B. Levine, 1999. "Child Care and Mothers' Employment Decisions," NBER Working Papers 7058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," NBER Working Papers 8983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Tekin, Erdal, 2002. "Child Care Subsidies, Wages, and Employment of Single Mothers," IZA Discussion Papers 517, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Wen-Jui, Han & Ruhm, Christopher J. & Waldfogel, Jane, 2007. "Parental Leave Policies and Parents’ Employment and Leave-Taking," IZA Discussion Papers 3244, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Blau, David & Currie, Janet, 2006. "Pre-School, Day Care, and After-School Care: Who's Minding the Kids?," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  12. 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.
  13. Baker, Michael & Milligan, Kevin, 2008. "Maternal employment, breastfeeding, and health: Evidence from maternity leave mandates," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 871-887, July.
  14. Florence Jaumotte, 2003. "Labour Force Participation of Women: Empirical Evidence on The Role of Policy and Other Determinants in OECD Countries," OECD Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2003(2), pages 51-108.
  15. Jane Waldfogel, 2006. "What do children need?," Public Policy Review, Institute for Public Policy Research, vol. 13(1), pages 26-34.
  16. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1997. "Policy Watch: The Family and Medical Leave Act," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 175-186, Summer.
  17. Rosenbaum Dan T & Ruhm Christopher J, 2007. "Family Expenditures on Child Care," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-32, July.
  18. David Blau & Erdal Tekin, 2007. "The determinants and consequences of child care subsidies for single mothers in the USA," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 719-741, October.
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