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Child Care Subsidies, Maternal Well-Being, and Child-Parent Interactions: Evidence from Three Nationally Representative Datasets

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  • Chris Herbst

    (Arizona State University)

  • Erdal Tekin

    (Georgia State University, IZA, and NBER)

Abstract

A complete account of the U.S. child care subsidy system requires an understanding of its implications for both parental and child well-being. Although the effects of child care subsidies on maternal employment and child development have been recently studied, many other dimensions of family well-being have received little attention. This paper attempts to fill this gap by examining the impact of child care subsidy receipt on maternal health and the quality of child-parent interactions. The empirical analyses use data from three nationally representative surveys, providing access to numerous measures of family well-being. In addition, we attempt to handle the possibility of non-random selection into subsidy receipt by using several identification strategies both within and across the surveys. Our results consistently indicate that child care subsidies are associated with worse maternal health and poorer interactions between parents and their children. In particular, subsidized mothers report lower levels of overall health and are more likely to show symptoms consistent with anxiety, depression, and parenting stress. Such mothers also reveal more psychological and physical aggression toward their children and are more likely to utilize spanking as a disciplinary tool. Together, these findings suggest that work-based public policies aimed at economically disadvantaged mothers may ultimately undermine family well-being.

Suggested Citation

  • Chris Herbst & Erdal Tekin, 2012. "Child Care Subsidies, Maternal Well-Being, and Child-Parent Interactions: Evidence from Three Nationally Representative Datasets," Working Papers 1372, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:crcwel:wp12-01-ff.pdf
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Brodeur, Abel & Connolly, Marie, 2013. "Do higher child care subsidies improve parental well-being? Evidence from Quebec's family policies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 1-16.
    2. D. Mark Anderson & Resul Cesur & Erdal Tekin, 2015. "Youth Depression And Future Criminal Behavior," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(1), pages 294-317, January.
    3. Boyd-Swan, Casey & Herbst, Chris M. & Ifcher, John & Zarghamee, Homa, 2013. "The Earned Income Tax Credit, Health, and Happiness," IZA Discussion Papers 7261, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. repec:cje:issued:v:51:y:2018:i:2:p:627-659 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Simonsen, Marianne, 2016. "Academic performance and type of early childhood care," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 217-229.
    6. Michael J. Kottelenberg & Steven F. Lehrer, 2018. "Does Quebecs subsidized child care policy give boys and girls an equal start?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 51(2), pages 627-659, May.
    7. Alexandra Kröll & Rainald Borck, 2013. "The Influence of Child Care on Maternal Health and Mother-Child Interaction," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 615, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    8. Erdal Tekin, 2014. "Childcare subsidy policy: What it can and cannot accomplish," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 1-43, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    child care; subsidies; employment; families; child development;

    JEL classification:

    • D19 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Other
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • I00 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General - - - General
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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