The Influence of Grandparental Child Care on Continued Childbearing: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study
20 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2016
Date Written: October 14, 2016
There has been much interest in how the provision of formal public day care influences fertility (e.g. Ermisch, 1989; Hank & Kreyenfeld, 2003; Rindfuss et al., 2010) but the implications of using informal sources of child care on fertility have been under-researched despite the pervasiveness of these kinds of arrangements (Hank & Buber, 2009). The few that have investigated this relationship have generally found that grandparental care was associated with greater fertility, but most have ignored the endogeneous relationship between utilizing grandparents as a source of child care and subsequent fertility outcomes. This study will overcome this issue using data from the Health and Retirement Study to adjust for possible sources of selection into using grandparental care both between and within families by utilizing sibling fixed effects models and the augmented inverse probability weight estimator. Results show that grandparental care leads to a reduction of parity progression probabilities, especially for women and at low parities. For men, the effects are weaker but still present once adjusting for selection into using grandparents as a source of child care. Possible mechanisms behind this relationship and pathways for future research are suggested in the discussion.
Keywords: Informal child care, grandparents, parity progression, fertility, sibling fixed effects
JEL Classification: J10, J13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation