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The impact of child care costs and availability on mothers' labour supply

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Del Boca, Daniela
Publication Date: 
1 Mar 2015



In this paper we review recent literature on the link between child care and women’s labor supply. The growing labor market participation of women has raised many concerns since it implies less time spent with the children and greater reliance on external forms of care. Focusing on studies examining the US, Canada and several European countries, we compare and discuss their methodologies and empirical results as well as their implications for child care policies. Most of the results suggest that the impact of child care availability and costs are stronger for mothers' labor supply among more disadvantaged backgrounds. Child care programs aimed at lower income and less educated families have important implications for EU targets on child poverty and mothers’ employment.