The Difficult Case of Persuading Women: Experimental Evidence from Childcare

39 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2013

See all articles by Francesco C. Billari

Francesco C. Billari

Bocconi University - Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management

Vincenzo Galasso

University of Lugano; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Paola Profeta

Bocconi University

Chiara Pronzato

University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2013

Abstract

Gender stereotypes are well established also among women. Yet, a recent literature suggests that learning from other women experience about the effects of maternal employment on children outcomes may increase female labor force participation. To further explore this channel, we design a randomized survey experiment, in which 1500 Italian women aged 20 to 40 are exposed to two informational treatments on the positive consequences of formal childcare on children future educational attainments. Surprisingly, we find that women reduce their intended labor supply. However, this result hides strong heterogenous effects: high educated non-mothers are persuaded by the informational treatments to increase their intended use of formal child care (and to pay more); whereas low educated non-mothers to reduce their intended labor supply. These findings are consistent with women responding to monetary incentive and/or having different preferences for maternal care. These heterogenous responses across women send a warning signal about the true effectiveness – in terms of take up rates – of often advocated public policies regarding formal child care.

Keywords: education, female labour supply, gender culture

JEL Classification: C99, J13, J16, J18, J2, Z1

Suggested Citation

Billari, Francesco C. and Galasso, Vincenzo and Profeta, Paola and Pronzato, Chiara, The Difficult Case of Persuading Women: Experimental Evidence from Childcare (October 2013). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP9682. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2341045

Francesco C. Billari (Contact Author)

Bocconi University - Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

Vincenzo Galasso

University of Lugano ( email )

Via Giuseppe Buffi 13
Lugano, 6900
Switzerland

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Paola Profeta

Bocconi University ( email )

Milan, MI
Italy

Chiara Pronzato

University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

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