The Effect of Early Childhood Development Programs on Women's Labor Force Participation and Older Children's Schooling in Kenya
36 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016
Date Written: June 2000
Economic incentives have a powerful effect on the work behavior of women with children in Kenya. In addition to increasing the future productivity of children, government subsidies of low-cost early childhood development programs would increase the number of mothers who work, thus increasing the incomes of poor households and lifting some families out of poverty. They would also increase older girls' enrollment in school, by releasing them from child care responsibilities.
About 20,000 early childhood development centers provided day care for and prepared for primary school more than 1 million children aged three to seven (roughly 20 percent of children in that age group) in Kenya in 1995. The number of child care facilities reached 23,690 by the end of 1999.
Lokshin, Glinskaya, and Garcia analyze the effect of child care costs on households' behavior in Kenya. For households with children aged three to seven, they model household demand for mothers' participation in paid work, the participation in paid work of other household members, household demand for schooling, and household demand for child care. They find that:
- A high cost for child care discourages households from using formal child care facilities and has a negative effect on mothers' participation in market work.
- The cost of child care and the level of mothers' wages affect older children's school enrollment, but these factors affect boys' and girls' schooling differently. An increase in mothers' wages increases boys' enrollment but depresses girls' enrollment.
- Higher child care costs have no significant effect on boys' schooling but significantly decrease the number of girls in school.
This paper - a joint product of Poverty and Human Resources, Development Research Group; Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Sector Unit, South Asia Region; and Human Development 1, Africa Technical Families - is part of a larger effort in the Bank to study the role of gender in the context of the household, institutions, and society. The authors may be contacted at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com.
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