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The Determinants and Consequences of Child Care Subsidies for Single Mothers

  • David Blau
  • Erdal Tekin

This paper provides an analysis of child care subsidies under welfare reform. Previous studies of child care subsidies use data from the pre-welfare-reform period, and their results may not apply to the very different post-reform environment. We use data from the 1999 National Survey of America's Families to analyze the determinants of receipt of a child care subsidy and the effects of subsidy receipt on employment, school attendance, job search, and welfare participation. We analyze the impact on subsidy receipt of household characteristics such as family size and structure, and past participation in welfare. The most important determinant of receipt of a child care subsidy is past receipt, but we cannot determine from our analysis whether this is a causal effect or a result of unobserved heterogeneity. Ordinary least squares estimates that treat subsidy receipt as exogenous show an effect of subsidy receipt of about 13 percentage points on employment. Two stage least squares estimates that treat subsidy receipt as endogenous and use county dummies as identifying instruments show an effect of 32 percentage points. We present some evidence that is consistent with the assumption that county dummies are valid identifying instruments, and some evidence that is inconsistent with the assumption.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9665.

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Date of creation: May 2003
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Publication status: published as Blau, David and Erdal Tekin. “The Determinants and Consequences of Child Care Subsidies for Single Mothers in the USA." Journal of Population Economics 20, 4 (2007): 719-741.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9665
Note: HE PE
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  1. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1105-1166, December.
  2. Robert J. Lemke & Ann Dryden Witte & Magaly Queralt & Robert Witt, 2000. "Child Care and the Welfare to Work Transition," NBER Working Papers 7583, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Patricia M. Anderson & Philip B. Levine, 1999. "Child Care and Mothers' Employment Decisions," NBER Working Papers 7058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. David M. Blau, 2000. "Child Care Subsidy Programs," NBER Working Papers 7806, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Marcia Meyers & Theresa Heintze & Douglas Wolf, 2002. "Child care subsidies and the employment of welfare recipients," Demography, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 165-179, February.
  6. Angrist, Joshua D. & Krueger, Alan B., 1999. "Empirical strategies in labor economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 23, pages 1277-1366 Elsevier.
  7. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1999. "Comment on James J. Heckman, "Instrumental Variables: A Study of Implicit Behavioral Assumptions Used in Making Program Evaluations"," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(4), pages 823-827.
  8. Ellen Eliason Kisker Anu Rangarajan Kimberly Boller, 1998. "Moving into Adulthood Were the Impacts of Mandatory Programs for Welfare-Dependent Teenage Parents Sustained After the Programs Ended," Mathematica Policy Research Reports a5f523e41f4c4b17a2e43cd4c, Mathematica Policy Research.
  9. Jean Kimmel, 1998. "Child Care Costs As A Barrier To Employment For Single And Married Mothers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 287-299, May.
  10. James J. Heckman, 1999. "Instrumental Variables: Response to Angrist and Imbens," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(4), pages 828-837.
  11. David M. Blau & Alison P. Hagy, 1998. "The Demand for Quality in Child Care," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(1), pages 104-146, February.
  12. Robins, Philip K & Spiegelman, Robert G, 1978. "An Econometric Model of the Demand for Child Care," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 16(1), pages 83-94, January.
  13. James Heckman, 1997. "Instrumental Variables: A Study of Implicit Behavioral Assumptions Used in Making Program Evaluations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 441-462.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
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