Child care, maternal employment, and children’s school outcomes. An analysis of Italian data

 

By: Daniela Del Boca ; Silvia Pasqua ; Simona Suardi
In this paper we analyse the impact of mothers’ employment status and formal child care attendance during early childhood on children’s school grades later in life, controlling for socio-demographic factors. We use the year 2008 of the Italian ISFOL-PLUS dataset. The dataset provides information on each respondent’s demographic characteristics, as well as a set of retrospective information on the individual’s school grades at the end of junior high school, high school, and university; along with (in the 2008 wave only) information about the respondent’s formal child care attendance and mother’s employment status when he or she was under age of three. We estimate the effects of maternal employment and child care attendance on the probability that the respondent would have high grades at the end of high school. Since maternal employment and child care attendance are likely to be endogenously determined, we use an Instrumental Variable (IV) approach. Our empirical results show that while having a mother who was working (during early childhood) had no significant effect on an individual’s high school grades, child care attendance had a positive and significant effect. These results have potential policy implications. As maternal employment does not seem to negatively affect the development process of children, while child care attendance appears to have a positive impact on academic achievement, policy makers should consider expanding the availability of child care, and promoting women’s participation in the labour market.
Keywords: mothers’ employment, child care, child cognitive outcomes
JEL: J13 D1
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:cca:wpaper:441&r=ltv
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