Family Proximity, Childcare, and Women&Apos;S Labor Force Attachment

46 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2011 Last revised: 22 Apr 2021

See all articles by Janice Compton

Janice Compton

University of Manitoba - Department of Economics

Robert A. Pollak

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: December 2011

Abstract

We show that close geographical proximity to mothers or mothers-in-law has a substantial positive effect on the labor supply of married women with young children. We argue that the mechanism through which proximity increases labor supply is the availability of childcare. We interpret availability broadly enough to include not only regular scheduled childcare during work hours but also an insurance aspect of proximity (e.g., a mother or mother-in-law who can provide irregular or unanticipated childcare). Using two large datasets, the National Survey of Families and Households and the public use files of the U.S. Census, we find that the predicted probability of employment and labor force participation is 4-10 percentage points higher for married women with young children living in close proximity to their mothers or their mothers-in-law compared with those living further away.

Suggested Citation

Compton, Janice and Pollak, Robert A., Family Proximity, Childcare, and Women&Apos;S Labor Force Attachment (December 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w17678, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1973889

Janice Compton (Contact Author)

University of Manitoba - Department of Economics ( email )

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Robert A. Pollak

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School ( email )

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