Unconditional Cash Transfers and Maternal Employment: Evidence from the Baby's First Years Study

32 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2022

See all articles by Maria Sauval

Maria Sauval

University of California, Irvine

Greg Duncan

University of California, Irvine

Lisa A. Gennetian

Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research; Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab

Katherine Magnuson

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Nathan Fox

University of Maryland

Kimberly Noble

Teachers College, Columbia University

Hirokazu Yoshikawa

New York University (NYU)

Date Written: November 30, 2022

Abstract

How the labor force participation of mothers of young children responds to unconditioned cash support remains an open question in policy debates. Using data from Baby’s First Years, a large-scale randomized controlled study, we generate new estimates of the impact of an unconditional monthly cash transfer on maternal employment behavior through a child’s first three years of development. We find no overall statistically detectable differences in whether mothers participated in the paid workforce or in overall household earnings. Receipt of the cash transfer appears to have reduced hours of maternal work during the height of the pandemic in 2020-21.

Note:
Funding Declaration: Annie E. Casey Foundation; Arrow Impact; BCBS of Louisiana Foundation; Bezos Family Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Bill Hammack and Janice Parmelee, Brady Education Fund; Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (Silicon Valley Community Foundation); Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies; Child Welfare Fund; Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Fund; Ford Foundation; Greater New Orleans Foundation; Heising-Simons Foundation; Jacobs Foundation; JPB Foundation; J-PAL North America; New York City Mayor's Office for Economic Opportunity; Perigee Fund; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Sherwood Foundation; Valhalla Foundation; Weitz Family Foundation; W.K. Kellogg Foundation; and three anonymous donors. Baby’s First Years’ datasets are available on the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) repository (Magnuson et al. 2022).

Conflict of Interests: The authors declare no relevant or material financial interests that relate to the research described in this paper.

Ethics Approval: This project received IRB approval from the University of California-Irvine (IRB Approval Number: 2016-3336) and from Teachers College, Columbia University (IRB Approval Number: 18-210). Upon consent, mothers were randomized to receive a monthly unconditional cash gift of either $333 or $20, starting at their child’s birth, for a duration of 40 months (subsequently extended to 76 months).

Trial Registration: The study was pre-registered in the AEA RCT Registry, with unique identification number AEARCTR-0003262.

Keywords: cash transfers, experiment, maternal employment

JEL Classification: H31, I30, J13, J18, J22

Suggested Citation

Sauval, Maria and Duncan, Greg and Gennetian, Lisa A. and Magnuson, Katherine and Fox, Nathan and Noble, Kimberly and Yoshikawa, Hirokazu, Unconditional Cash Transfers and Maternal Employment: Evidence from the Baby's First Years Study (November 30, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4297310 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4297310

Maria Sauval (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine

401 E. Peltason Drive
School of Education Suite 3200
Irvine, CA 92617
United States

Greg Duncan

University of California, Irvine ( email )

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA California 62697-3125
United States

Lisa A. Gennetian

Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy ( email )

212 Rubenstein Hall
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States
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27708 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sanford.duke.edu/profile/lisa-gennetian/

National Bureau of Economic Research ( email )

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Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.povertyactionlab.org/person/gennetian

Katherine Magnuson

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

716 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States

Nathan Fox

University of Maryland ( email )

College Park
College Park, MD 20742
United States

Kimberly Noble

Teachers College, Columbia University ( email )

525 W. 120th St.
New York, NY 10027
United States

Hirokazu Yoshikawa

New York University (NYU) ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

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