Child Care, Maternal Employment and Persistence: A Natural Experiment from Spain

47 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2011

See all articles by Natalia Nollenberger

Natalia Nollenberger

Autonomous University of Barcelona

Núria Rodríguez-Planas

City University New York (CUNY), Queens College; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

Reconciling work and family is high on many governments' agenda, especially in countries, such as Spain, with record-low fertility and female labor force participation rates. This paper analyzes the effects of a large-scale provision of publicly subsidized child care in Spain in the early 1990s, addressing the impact on mothers’ short- and long-run employment outcomes (up to four years after the child was eligible to participate in the program). Exploiting the staggered timing and age-targeting of this child-care expansion, our estimates show that the policy led to a sizable increase in employment (8%), and hours worked (9%) of mothers with age-eligible (3-year-old) children, and that these effects persisted over time. Heterogeneity matters. While persistence is strong among mothers with a high-school degree, the effects of the program on maternal employment quickly fade away among those without a high-school degree. These findings are consistent with the program reducing the depreciation of human capital. The lack of any results among college educated mothers, which represent less than one tenth of mothers, is most likely due to the fact that they are able to pay day care (even when it is mainly privately supplied), and that most of them are already strongly attached to the labor force.

Keywords: mother's labor supply, preschool children, childcare, quasi-natural experiment, differences-in-differences-in-differences

JEL Classification: H42, H52, I20, J13, J21, J22

Suggested Citation

Nollenberger, Natalia and Rodriguez-Planas, Nuria, Child Care, Maternal Employment and Persistence: A Natural Experiment from Spain. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5888, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1906191

Natalia Nollenberger (Contact Author)

Autonomous University of Barcelona ( email )

Plaça Cívica
Cerdañola del Valles
Barcelona, Barcelona 08193
Spain

Nuria Rodriguez-Planas

City University New York (CUNY), Queens College ( email )

65-30 Kissena Blvd
Flushing, NY 11367-1597
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/nuriarodriguezplanas/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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