To Work or Not to Work? The Effect of Child-Care Subsidies on the Labour Supply of Parents
Government Institute for Economic Research Working Paper No. 23
50 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2011
Date Written: April 29, 2011
This paper studies the effect of child-care subsidies on maternal labour supply. In the Finnish child-care system, parents taking care of their children at home receive a relatively generous home-care allowance. I use variation arising from changes in the municipality-specific supplement to this allowance to identify the causal effect of subsidies on the labour force participation of parents. A municipal supplement creates plausibly exogenous variation in subsidies, since the opportunity to take them up depends on municipal-level rules, but not on changes in individual labour supply decisions. Moreover, a supplement policy affects labour supply in a transparent way since the amount of supplement one is eligible for does not depend on income. Robustness checks indicate that the results are not driven by policy endogeneity or residential sorting. I find a large negative effect on the labour force participation and income of mothers. 100 euros higher supplement per month reduces the maternal labour supply by 3 per cent. The estimated effect is larger for higher-educated than for medium-educated mothers.
Keywords: Labour supply of parents, child care subsidies, participation tax rate
JEL Classification: H2, J13, J22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation