Do Parents Work More When Children Start School? Evidence from the Netherlands

41 Pages Posted: 21 May 2019

See all articles by Lisette Swart

Lisette Swart

Tinbergen Institute; VU University Amsterdam - Department of Economics

Wiljan Van den Berge

CPB Netherlands Bureau of Economic Policy Analysis

Karen van der Wiel

CPB Netherlands Bureau of Economic Policy Analysis

Date Written: March 2019

Abstract

When children start school, parents save time and/or money. In this paper, we empirically examine the impact of these changes to the family's budget constraint on parents' working hours. Labor supply is theoretically expected to increase for parents who used to spend time taking care of their children, but to decrease for fulltime working parents because of an income effect: child care expenses drop. We show that the effect of additional time dominates the income effect in the Netherlands, where children start school (kindergarten) for approximately 20 hours a week in the month that they turn 4. Using detailed administrative data on all parents, we find that the average mother's hours worked increases by 3% when her youngest child starts going to school. For their partners, who experience a much smaller shock in terms of time, the increase in hours worked is also much smaller at 0.4%.

Keywords: labor supply, starting school, child care

JEL Classification: J13, J22

Suggested Citation

Swart, Lisette and Van den Berge, Wiljan and van der Wiel, Karen, Do Parents Work More When Children Start School? Evidence from the Netherlands (March 2019). IZA Discussion Paper No. 12207. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3390194

Lisette Swart

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

VU University Amsterdam - Department of Economics ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands

Wiljan Van den Berge (Contact Author)

CPB Netherlands Bureau of Economic Policy Analysis ( email )

P.O. Box 80510
2508 GM The Hague, 2585 JR
Netherlands

Karen Van der Wiel

CPB Netherlands Bureau of Economic Policy Analysis ( email )

P.O. Box 80510
2508 GM The Hague, 2585 JR
Netherlands

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