IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Women’s Labor Force Participation and Childcare Choices in Urban China during the Economic Transition


  • Fenglian Du
  • Xiao-yuan Dong


China’s transition from a centrally planned to a market economy has substantially eroded governmental support for childcare. This paper examines the labor force participation and childcare choices of urban Chinese women during the economic transition and explores the distributional implications of childcare reform. The analysis shows that following child care reform, access to informal caregivers became increasingly critical for women’s labor force participation. The rise of women’s dependence on informal caregivers apparently accounted for much of the decline in women’s labor force participation during the period from 1997 to 2006. In effect, child care reform heightened the tensions between income earning and child rearing for women who had no access to informal care providers and also could not afford to use formal care services.

Suggested Citation

  • Fenglian Du & Xiao-yuan Dong, 2010. "Women’s Labor Force Participation and Childcare Choices in Urban China during the Economic Transition," Departmental Working Papers 2010-04, The University of Winnipeg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:win:winwop:2010-04

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Sibo Zhao, 2018. "Changes in women’s and men’s child care time in China, 2004–2011: the contributions of cohort replacement and intra-cohort change," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 1275-1289, May.
    2. Lijun Yang, 2021. "The role of premarital cohabitation in the timing of first birth in China," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 45(8), pages 259-290.
    3. Chi, Wei & Li, Bo, 2014. "Trends in China’s gender employment and pay gap: Estimating gender pay gaps with employment selection," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 708-725.
    4. Lan Liu & Xiao-yuan Dong & Xiaoying Zheng, 2010. "Parental Care and Married Women's Labor Supply in Urban China," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(3), pages 169-192.
    5. Li, Yunrong, 2017. "The effects of formal and informal child care on the Mother's labor supply—Evidence from urban China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 227-240.
    6. repec:ilo:ilowps:487966 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Xi Chen, 2019. "The evolution of female labour force participation in urban China," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 27(1), pages 267-299, January.
    8. Huiping Zhang & Paul Yip & Peilian Chi & Kinsun Chan & Yee Cheung & Xiulan Zhang, 2012. "Factor Structure and Psychometric Properties of the Work-Family Balance Scale in an Urban Chinese Sample," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 105(3), pages 409-418, February.
    9. Dasgupta, Sukti. & Matsumoto, Makiko. & Xia, Cuntao., 2015. "Women in the labour market in China," ILO Working Papers 994879663402676, International Labour Organization.
    10. Wu, Xiaoyu, 2022. "Fertility and maternal labor supply: Evidence from the new two-child policies in urban China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 584-598.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:win:winwop:2010-04. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Soham Baksi (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.