The Effect of Childcare Access on Women's Careers and Firm Performance
48 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2022 Last revised: 4 Oct 2023
Date Written: October 3, 2023
We study the effect of government-subsidized childcare on women's career outcomes and firm performance using linked tax filing data. Exploiting a universal childcare reform in Quebec in 1997 and the variation in its timing relative to childbirth across cohorts of parents, we show that earlier access to childcare increases employment among new mothers, particularly among those previously unemployed. Earlier childcare access increases new mothers' reallocation of careers across firms, leading to higher earnings and higher productivity. Firms traditionally unattractive to mothers with young children benefited from the reform, drawing more young female workers and experiencing better performance. Our results suggest that childcare frictions hamper women's career progression and their allocation of human capital in the labor market.
Keywords: Childcare, gender gap, earnings, productivity, labor, worker-firm match
JEL Classification: G28, G32, K22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation