Skip over navigation

Journal Issue: Work and Family Volume 21 Number 2 Fall 2011

Policies to Assist Parents with Young Children
Christopher J. Ruhm


  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Women in the Labor Force: A Databook, Report 1018 (September 2009). The employment rate of mothers with children aged five and under has remained fairly stable, ranging between 58 and 60 percent since 1996.
  2. U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1999, 119th ed. (Government Printing Office, 1999); U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, 129th ed. (Government Printing Office, 2009).
  3. Liana Fox and others, "Time for Children: Trends in the Employment Patterns of Parents, 1967–2009" (Columbia University, March 2011).
  4. Jody Heymann, Alison Earle, and Jeffrey Hayes, "The Work, Family Equity Index: How Does the United States Measure Up?" (Montreal: McGill University Project on Working Families and the Institute for Health and Social Policy, 2007). The three other countries that do not provide paid leave are Liberia, Papua New Guinea, and Swaziland. In many developing countries these rights are likely to be limited to formal sector employment and may not always be provided in practice.
  5. Australia supplies a lump-sum payment to new parents but no additional payment during the leave period. However, a newly introduced paid leave scheme is scheduled to make eighteen weeks of paid leave available starting in 2011; see Peter Moss, ed., International Review of Leave Policies and Related Research, 2009, Employment Relations Research Series 102 (University of London, 2009).
  6. Many other government policies with relevance for work-family balance do not receive much attention here. For example, reforms to the U.S. welfare system have created additional pressures for many families particularly where exemptions from work requirements for parents with infants or toddlers have been shortened or eliminated. Although potentially important, such effects are by-products of policies enacted for other reasons and a careful treatment of them is beyond the scope of this discussion. Nor is significant attention paid to the Women, Infants, and Children program, which provides federal food subsidies and other support to pregnant women and some families with young children, or to private employer policies that certainly play a significant role for many families. Because the focus here is on families with preschoolage children, policies with more general impacts such as family allowances in Europe or the Earned Income Tax Credit in the United States are not examined. Finally, policies supporting breast feeding (breast-feeding breaks in the workplace) or time off work to take care of one's own health problems or to care for sick children, are detailed in other chapters of this volume and so receive little attention here.
  7. Households with young children may find it more difficult to achieve work-family balance in the United States than in the other industrialized nations, but that is not entirely because of higher rates of maternal employment. The fraction of mothers in the United States with children under age three who work is greater than the average for all advanced countries (54 versus 45 percent in 2007) but substantially below rates in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Belgium, and similar to those in France, Canada, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom; see Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD Family Database ( Part-time work is more common in other advanced countries, however, and rights to lengthy maternity and parental leave imply that parents with young children are often formally "employed" but not working, in contrast to the United States, where such leaves are almost always brief; see Wen-Jui Han, Christopher Ruhm, and Jane Waldfogel, "Parental Leave Policies and Parents' Employment and Leave-Taking," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 28, no. 1 (2009): 29–54. Europeans also generally receive four to five weeks of paid vacation (plus public holidays) annually, whereas vacation is not guaranteed in the United States and rarely exceeds two or three weeks; see U.S. Department of Labor, National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in the United States, March 2009, Bulletin 2731 (September 2009). Finally, the share of children living in single-family homes is significantly lower in Europe than in the United States; see OECD Family Database.
  8. Policy outcomes may also vary with other aspects of the institutional environment. For example, the impact of parental leave may depend on the quality of the nonparental child care.
  9. Eileen Trzcinski and William T. Alpert, "Pregnancy and Parental Leave Benefits in the United States and Canada," Journal of Human Resources 29, no. 2 (1994): 535–54. A distinction is often made between maternity leave occurring at or near the time of birth and parental leave, which takes place subsequently. The term parental leave is used to cover both types of time off work in most of the discussion here.
  10. Employers occasionally give some workers paid leave, even when such rights are not mandated, but the practice is uncommon: In 2008 just 8 percent of private industry employees worked for companies providing paid family leave to some of their workforce; U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010 (see note 2). Paid leave is also sometimes received on an informal basis or through the use of accrued vacation, sick leave, or personal leave.
  11. Sarah Fass, Paid Leave in the States: A Critical Support for Low-Wage Workers and Their Families (Columbia University, National Center for Children in Poverty, March 2009). Payments are received directly from employers (or their insurers) in some states and from the government in others.
  12. This paragraph is based on information in Fass, Paid Leave in the States (see note 11), and Alex Stone, Paid Family Leave: U.S. Families Falling (Way) behind the Rest of the World (Washington: Washington Family Leave Coalition, 2010).
  13. This discussion is based on Christopher J. Ruhm and Jackqueline L. Teague, "Parental Leave Policies in Europe and North America," in Gender and Family Issues in the Workplace, edited by Francine D. Blau and Ronald G. Ehrenberg (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1997), pp. 133–56; Sheila B. Kamerman, "A Global History of Early Childhood Education and Care," background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2007: Strong Foundations: Early Childhood Care and Education (Paris: UNESCO, 2006); Meryl Frank and Robyn Lipner, "History of Maternity Leave in Europe and the United States," in The Parental Leave Crisis: Toward a National Policy, edited by Meryl Frank and Robyn Lipner (Yale University Press, 1988), pp. 3–22; and Anne-Marie Brocas, Anne- Marie Cailloux, and Virginie Oget, Women and Social Security: Progress towards Equality of Treatment (Geneva: International Labour Office, 1990).
  14. These expansions followed the 1952 International Labour Organization Maternity Protection Convention, which called for widening coverage to include women in nonindustrial and agricultural occupations, extending maternity leave to twelve weeks (with at least six weeks after birth remaining compulsory), and providing cash payments of not less than two-thirds of previous earnings from social insurance or other public funds (rather than from the employer).
  15. European Union Council Directive 96/34/EC of June 3, 1996, requires EU members (except Great Britain) to provide at least three months of parental leave as an individual right, to mothers and fathers, with guaranteed return to the same or an equivalent job.
  16. Some changes are motivated by other considerations. For instance, the 2007 German replacement of a means-tested parental leave benefit with a benefit that instead depended on previous wages was designed to increase female labor force participation and fertility rates, particularly for high-income families; see Katharina C. Spiess and Katharina Wrohlich, "The Parental Leave Benefit Reform in Germany: Costs and Labour Market Outcomes of Moving towards the Nordic Model," Population Research and Review 27,no. 5 (2008): 575–91.
  17. For example, fewer than 1 percent of Austrian fathers and 1–2 percent of German fathers used parental leave during the mid-1990s, compared with 96 percent of corresponding mothers; even in Finland, Norway, and Sweden, where most men take some parental leave, the vast majority of total time off work was taken by women; see Gwennaële Bruning and Janneke Plantenga, "Parental Leave and Equal Opportunities: Experiences in Eight European Countries," Journal of European Social Policy 9, no. 3 (1999): 195–209.
  18. This chapter focuses on Western European nations because they have the longest traditions of providing parental leaves. Some innovations developed elsewhere, however, such as paid child-rearing leaves in Central and Eastern Europe.
  19. The leave durations do not reflect the extra entitlements available to limited groups (such as government workers or those covered under collective agreements) or additional time off given for multiple births or medical complications, or in other situations such as second or later children). Leave restricted to men is separately broken out because benefits available to either parent are almost always taken by women. There is often a maximum benefit, implying that less than two-thirds of wages are replaced for persons earning above the threshold. Some countries offer a limited period of leave at a high replacement rate or longer durations at lower pay. A portion of the leave is also often paid at a (typically low) flat rate.
  20. Longer paid work absences are often available to fathers if mothers choose not to take leave or explicitly transfer the entitlement to their husbands; however, mothers rarely take those options.
  21. Self-employed persons may have stricter qualification conditions or higher social insurance contribution rates, and fathers sometimes face additional eligibility criteria.
  22. Rebecca Ray, Janet C. Gornick, and John Schmitt, Parental Leave Policies in 21 Countries: Assessing Generosity and Gender Equity (Washington: Center for Economic Policy Research, 2008), obtain similar results using an alternative calculation of the amount of "full-time equivalent" paid leave.
  23. For additional details, see Peter Moss and Fred Deven, "Country Notes: Introduction and Main Findings," in International Review of Leave Policies and Related Research 2009, edited by Moss, pp. 77–99; Ray, Gornick, and Schmitt, Parental Leave Policies in 21 Countries (see note 22); and Ariane Hegewisch and Janet C. Gornick, Statutory Routes to Workplace Flexibility in Cross-National Perspective (Washington: Institute for Women's Policy Research, 2008).
  24. For details see Michael Baker and Kevin Milligan, "How Does Job-Protected Maternity Leave Affect Mothers' Employment?" Journal of Labor Economics 26, no. 4 (2008) 655–91; Rebecca A. Ray, A Detailed Look at Parental Leave Policies in 21 OECD Countries (Washington: Center for Economic Policy Research, 2008).
  25. Janet C. Gornick and Marcia K. Meyers, Families That Work: Policies for Reconciling Parenthood and Employment (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2003); Nabanita Datta Gupta, Nina Smith, and Mette Verner, "The Impact of Nordic Countries' Family Policies on Employment, Wages, and Children," Review of the Economics of the Household 6, no. 1 (2008): 609–29.
  26. Fass, Paid Leave in the States (see note 11).
  27. OECD, "Education at a Glance 2010: OECD Indicators" (,3746,en_2649_39263238_ 45897844_1_1_1_1,00.html).
  28. Marit Rønsen and Marianne Sundström, "Family Policy and After-Birth Employment among New Mothers: A Comparison of Finland, Norway and Sweden," European Journal of Population 18, no. 2 (2002): 121–52; Christian Dustmann and Uta Schönberg, "The Effects of Expansions in Maternity Leave Coverage on Children's Long-Term Outcomes," IZA Discussion Paper 3605 (Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor, 2008); Simon Burgess and others, "Maternity Rights and Mothers' Return to Work," Labour Economics 15, no. 2 (2008): 168–201; Maria Hanratty and Eileen Trzcinski, "Who Benefits from Paid Leave? Impact of Expansions in Canadian Paid Family Leave on Maternal Employment and Transfer Income," Journal of Population Economics 22, no. 3 (2009): 693–711.
  29. Charles L. Baum, "The Effects of Maternity Leave Legislation on Mothers' Labor Supply after Childbirth," Southern Economic Journal, 69, no. 4 (2003): 772–99; Wen-Jui Han and Jane Waldfogel, "Parental Leave: The Impact of Recent Legislation on Parents' Leave Taking," Demography 40, no. 1 (2000): 191–200.
  30. Han, Ruhm, and Waldfogel, "Parental Leave Policies and Parents' Employment and Leave-Taking" (see note 7). The control group includes persons having children approximately one year in the future. Leave rights increase predicted maternal leave taking by 5 to 9 percentage points (13 to 20 percent) in the birth month and next two months and paternal leave taking by 3.9 percentage points (54 percent) in the birth month.
  31. Christopher J. Ruhm, "The Economic Consequences of Parental Leave Mandates: Lessons from Europe," Quarterly Journal of Economics 113, no. 1 (1998): 285–317.
  32. Baker and Milligan, "How Does Job-Protected Maternity Leave Affect Mothers' Employment?" (see note 24); Jane Waldfogel, "The Family Gap for Young Women in the United States and Britain: Can Maternity Leave Make a Difference?" Journal of Labor Economics 16, no. 3 (1998): 505–45; Baum, "The Effects of Maternity Leave Legislation on Mothers' Labor Supply after Childbirth" (see note 29).
  33. For instance, in 1993 mothers were entitled to twenty-eight, sixteen, fourteen, and forty-two weeks of paid leave in Denmark, France, Ireland, and Norway, respectively, versus forty-eight, forty-two, twenty-six, and ninety weeks in 2008.
  34. Rafael Lalive and Josef Zweimüller, "How Does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return to Work: Evidence from Two Natural Experiments," Quarterly Journal of Economics 124, no. 3 (2009): 1363–1402; Uta Schönberg and Johannes Ludstek, "Maternity Leave Legislation, Female Labor Supply, and the Family Wage Gap," IZA Discussion Paper 2699 (Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor, 2007). The latter study investigated German changes lengthening paid leave from two to six months in 1979, six to ten months in 1986, and eighteen to thirty-six months in 1992.
  35. Positive employment effects were found by Charles L. Baum, "The Effect of State Maternity Leave Legislation and the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act on Employment and Wages," Labour Economics 10, no. 5 (2003): 573–96; Han, Ruhm, and Waldfogel,"Parental Leave Policies and Parents' Employment and Leave-Taking" (see note 7). Negative impacts were found by Natalie K. Goodpaster, "Leaves and Leaving: The Family and Medical Leave Act and the Decline in Maternal Labor Force Participation," B. E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy (Contributions) 10, no. 1 (2010), Article 6. The employment reductions are hypothesized to occur because some women on leave discover that they prefer being home with their young children to returning to work.
  36. Waldfogel, "The Family Gap for Young Women in the United States and Britain" (see note 32).
  37. For instance, the family gap in Denmark is overestimated by failing to account for the self-selection of mothers into relatively low-paid public sector jobs; see Helena Skyt Nielsen, Marianne Simonsen, and Mette Verner, "Does the Gap in Family-Friendly Policies Drive the Family Gap?" Scandinavian Journal of Economics 106, no. 4 (2004): 721–24.
  38. Jane Waldfogel, "The Impact of the Family and Medical Leave Act," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 18, no. 2 (1999): 281–302; Baum, "The Effect of State Maternity Leave Legislation and the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act on Employment and Wages" (see note 35).
  39. Ruhm, "The Economic Consequences of Parental Leave Mandates" (see note 31).
  40. Astrid W. Rasmussen, "Increasing the Length of Parents' Birth-Related Leave: The Effect on Children's Long-Term Educational Outcomes," Labour Economics 17, no. 1 (2010): 91–100.
  41. James W. Albrecht and others, "Career Interruptions and Subsequent Earnings: A Reexamination Using Swedish Data," Journal of Human Resources 34, no. 2 (1999): 294–311; Dustmann and Schönberg, "The Effects of Expansions in Maternity Leave Coverage on Children's Long-Term Outcomes" (see note 28); Lalive and Zweimüller, "How Does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return to Work" (see note 34).
  42. Nabanita Datta Gupta and Nina Smith, "Children and Career Interruptions: The Family Gap in Denmark," Economica 69, no. 276 (2002): 609–29; Helena Skyt Nielsen, "Causes and Consequences of a Father's Child Leave: Evidence from a Reform of Leave Schemes," IZA Discussion Paper 4267 (Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor, 2009); Patrick A. Puhani and Katja Sonderhof, "The Effects of Maternity Leave Extension on Training for Young Women," Journal of Population Economics 24, no. 2 (2011): 731–60.
  43. James Albrecht, Anders Björklund, and Susan Vroman,"Is There a Glass Ceiling in Sweden?" Journal of Labor Economics 21, no. 1 (2003): 145–77. "Glass ceiling" effects are hypothesized to manifest through larger gender differentials higher in the earnings distribution. No such differential existed in 1968, but one emerged by the early 1980s and strengthened in the 1990s, when parental leave rights were expanded. Occupational segregation also increased over time.
  44. Such research is reviewed in Katharina Staehelin, Paola Coda Bertea, and Elisabeth Zemp Stutz, "Length of Maternity Leave and Health of Mother and Child: A Review," International Journal of Public Health 52, no. 4 (2007): 202–09.
  45. Christopher J. Ruhm, "Parental Leave and Child Health," Journal of Health Economics 19, no. 6 (2000): 931–60.
  46. Sakiko Tanaka, "Parental Leave and Child Health across OECD Countries," Economic Journal 15, no. 501 (2005): F7–F28.
  47. Michael Baker and Kevin Milligan, "Maternal Employment, Breastfeeding, and Health: Evidence from Maternity Leave Mandates," Journal of Health Economics 27, no. 4 (2008): 871–87. They also provide evidence of reductions in asthma, chronic conditions, allergies, and ear infections at seven to twelve months but raise concern about the robustness of these findings.
  48. Michael Baker and Kevin Milligan, "Evidence from Maternity Leave Expansions of the Impact of Maternal Care on Early Child Development," Journal of Human Resources 45, no. 1 (2010): 1–32.
  49. Lawrence Berger, Jennifer Hill, and Jane Waldfogel, "Maternity Leave, Early Maternal Employment and Child Health and Development in the US," Economic Journal 115, no. 501 (2005): F29–F47. These results suggest but do not explicitly test for effects of leave.
  50. Pinka Chatterji and Sara Markowitz, "Does the Length of Maternity Leave Affect Maternal Health?" Southern Economic Journal 72, no. 1 (2005): 16–41.
  51. Pedro Carneiro, Kartine Løken, and Kjell G. Salvanes, "A Flying Start? Maternity Leave and Long-Term Consequences of Time Investments in Infants in Their First Year of Life" (University College London, March 2010); Dustmann and Schönberg, "The Effects of Expansions in Maternity Leave Coverage on Children's Long-Term Outcomes" (see note 28); Qian Liu and Oskar Nordström Skans, "The Duration of Paid Parental Leave and Children's Scholastic Performance," B. E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy (Contributions) 10, no. 1 (2010): Article 3; Rasmussen, "Increasing the Length of Parents' Birth-Related Leave" (see note 40).
  52. Anders Björklund, "Does Family Policy Affect Fertility," Journal of Population Economics 19, no. 1 (2006): 3–24; Gupta, Smith, and Verner, "The Impact of Nordic Countries' Family Policies on Employment, Wages, and Children" (see note 25); Lalive and Zweimüller, "How Does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return to Work" (see note 34).
  53. Higher fertility in Austria and Sweden largely result from a "speed premium," where having an additional child during the original period of leave extends its duration. Leaves in excess of one year are required to allow for such strategic behavior because of the biological difficulty in timing births within a shorter period.
  54. Lynda Laughlin, "Who's Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Spring 2005/Summer 2006," Current Population Reports, P70-121 (U.S. Census Bureau, August 2010).
  55. Dan T. Rosenbaum and Christopher J. Ruhm, "Family Expenditures on Child Care," B. E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy (Topics) 7, no. 1 (2007): Article 34.
  56. Except where noted, the information on government programs in this section is from Green Book, 2008: Background Material and Data on Programs within the Jurisdiction of the Committee on Ways and Means (Washington: House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means, 2009) ( Additional information on Head Start was obtained from the Administration for Children and Families, "Head Start Program Fact Sheet Fiscal Year 2010" (; and Melinda Gish, "Head Start: Background and Issues," CRS Report for Congress RL30952 (Washington: Congressional Research Service, updated January 9, 2006).
  57. Using fiscal year 2009 enrollment figures from Administration for Children and Families, "Head Start Program Fact Sheet Fiscal Year 2010" (see note 56) and estimates of the economically eligible population in 2004, from Gish, "Head Start: Background and Issues" (see note 56), I estimate that the program served 47 percent of income-eligible three- and four-year-olds and 3 percent of income-eligible children below age three in fiscal year 2009.
  58. States are permitted to transfer up to 30 percent of their TANF block grant to CCDF and can directly spend TANF funds on child care. In 2006 they allocated around $1 billion for the latter.
  59. A few states have implemented at-home infant care programs that subsidize low-income parents who provide child care in the home; see National Partnership for Women & Families, "At-Home Infant Care (AHIC): A Side-by-Side Comparison of Federal and State Initiatives" (
  60. "Child Care Eligibility and Enrollment Estimates for Fiscal Year 2005," ASPE Issue Brief (Washington: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, July 2008).
  61. The average family receiving CCDF benefits paid 4.7 percent of its income for subsidized child-care services in fiscal year 2006.
  62. In addition, 319,000 three- and four-year-olds received special education services. Information in this paragraph is from W. Steven Barnett and others, The State of Preschool, 2009 (Rutgers University, National Institute for Early Education Research, 2009).
  63. Also deserving mention is the U.S. Department of Defense child-care program, the nation's largest employer-sponsored child-care system, which has been transformed from a low-quality program to one viewed as a national model for providing high-quality care; see M.-A. Lucas, "The Military Child Care Connection," The Future of Children, 11, no. 1 (2001): 128–33.
  64. Internal Revenue Service, Child and Dependent Care Expenses: For Use in Preparing 2010 Returns, Publication 503 (2010) (
  65. NICHD (National Institute for Child Health and Human Development) Early Child Care Research Network, "Characteristics and Quality of Child Care for Toddlers and Preschoolers," Applied Developmental Science 4, no. 3 (2000): 116–35.
  66. Suzanne W. Helburn, ed., Cost, Quality and Child Outcomes in Child Care Centers: Technical Report (University of Colorado, Center for Research in Economic and Social Policy, 1995). These results overestimate the overall quality of care if centers eligible for the study but choosing not to participate in it had lower-than-average quality.
  67. In addition to the study mentioned in the previous note, see Deborah Lowe Vandell and Barbara Wolfe, "Child Care Quality: Does It Matter and Does It Need to Be Improved?" Institute for Research on Poverty Special Report 78 (University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2000); and David M. Blau, The Child Care Problem: An Economic Analysis (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2001).
  68. This section is based on Gornick and Meyers, Families That Work (see note 25); OECD, Starting Strong II: Early Childhood Education and Care (Paris: 2006); Jérôme de Henau, Daniéle Meulders, and Síle O'Dorchai, "Parents' Care and Career: Comparing Public Childcare Provision," in Social Policies, Labour Markets and Motherhood, edited by Daniela Del Boca and Cécile Wetzels (Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 28–62; Eurydice, Tackling Social and Cultural Inequalities through Early Childhood Education and Care in Europe (Brussels: European Commission, Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency, 2009). For historical perspective, see Kamerman, "A Global History of Early Childhood Education and Care" (see note 13).
  69. An extra week of paid leave decreases the predicted use of informal care by a statistically insignificant 0.5 percentage point and raises parent-only care by a significant 1.2 points.
  70. For additional details, see Jérôme de Henau, Daniéle Meulders, and Síle O'Dorchai, "Support for Market Care: Comparing Comparing Child Care and Tax Systems," in Social Policies, Labour Markets and Motherhood, edited by Del Boca and Wetzels, pp. 107–51; OECD, Benefits and Wages 2007: OECD Indicators (Paris: 2007).
  71. Patricia M. Anderson and Phillip B. Levine, "Child Care and Mothers' Employment Decisions," in Finding Jobs: Work and Welfare Reform, edited by David Card and Rebecca M. Blank (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2000), pp. 420–62; David M. Blau, "Child Care Subsidy Programs," in Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, edited by Robert A. Moffitt (University of Chicago Press, 2003), pp. 443–516. Higher child-care costs also decrease work hours, conditional on employment, but probably by a smaller amount.
  72. Rachel Connelly and Jean Kimmel, "The Effect of Child Care Costs on the Employment and Welfare Recipiency of Single Mothers," Southern Economic Journal 69, no. 3 (2003): 498–519; Erdal Tekin, "Childcare Subsidies, Wages, and the Employment of Single Mothers," Journal of Human Resources 42, no. 2 (2007): 453–86; Chris M. Herbst, "The Labor Supply Effects of Child Care Costs and Wages in the Presence of Subsidies and the Earned Income Tax Credit," Review of Economics of the Household 8, no. 2 (2010): 199–230.
  73. For instance, price reductions for publicly provided care implemented in Sweden in 2002 and 2003 led to small or no increases in employment for mothers of one- to nine-year-olds; see Daniela Lundin, Eva Mörk, and Björn Öckert, "How Far Can Reduced Childcare Prices Push Female Labour Supply," Labour Economics 15, no. 4 (2008): 647–59.
  74. This variation may occur for several reasons. Costs may be low in areas where wages or labor market conditions are depressed, muting the observed child-care price elasticities. Families may view subsidies as direct encouragement to use child care and so respond more than for other price changes. Public provision of ECEC may provide some guarantee of quality and reduce transaction costs of using it.
  75. For reviews of this research, see Anderson and Levine, "Child Care and Mothers' Employment Decisions" (see note 71), and Blau, "Child Care Subsidy Programs" (see note 71).
  76. Erdal Tekin, "Child Care Subsidy Receipt, Employment, and Child Care Choices of Single Mothers," Economics Letters 89, no. 1 (2005): 1–6; Herbst, "The Labor Supply Effects of Child Care Costs and Wages in the Presence of Subsidies and the Earned Income Tax Credit" (see note 72).
  77. Florence Jaumotte, "Labour Force Participation of Women: Empirical Evidence on the Role of Policy and Other Determinants in OECD Countries," OECD Economic Studies no. 37 (2003/2) (June 2004): 51–108.
  78. Jonah B. Gelbach, "Public Schooling for Young Children and Maternal Labor Supply," American Economic Review 92, no. 1 (2002): 307–22, uses quarter-of-birth as an instrument for kindergarten enrollment. Elizabeth Cascio, "Maternal Labor Supply and the Introduction of Kindergartens into American Public Schools," Journal of Human Resources 44, no. 1 (2009): 140–69, exploits differences in the timing of the introduction of state funding for kindergarten. Gelbach finds that Head Start availability also increases employment.
  79. Pierre Lefebvre and Philip Merrigan, "Child-Care Policy and the Labor Supply of Mothers with Young Children: A Natural Experiment from Canada," Journal of Labor Economics 26, no. 3 (2008): 519–48; Michael Baker, Jonathan Gruber, and Kevin Milligan, "Universal Child Care, Maternal Labor Supply and Family Well-Being," Journal of Political Economy 116, no. 4 (2008): 709–45. The largest subsidy increases occurred at middle and high incomes, because the poor were eligible for subsidies before implementation. Hours and annual weeks of work also rose.
  80. Maria Donovan Fitzpatrick, "Preschoolers Enrolled and Mothers at Work? The Effects of Universal Prekindergarten," Journal of Labor Economics 28, no. 1 (2010): 51–84; Tarjei Havnes and Magne Mogstad, "Money for Nothing? Universal Child Care and Maternal Employment," IZA Discussion Paper 4504 (Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor, 2009).
  81. See, for example, Christopher J. Ruhm, "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," Journal of Human Resources 39, no. 1 (2004): 155–92; Jennifer Hill and others, "Towards a Better Estimate of Causal Links in Child Policy: The Case of Maternal Employment and Child Outcomes," Developmental Psychology 41, no. 6 (2005): 833–50; and Raquel Bernal and Michael P. Keane, "Quasi- Structural Estimation of a Model of Childcare Choices and Child Cognitive Ability Production," Journal of Econometrics 156, no. 1 (2010): 164–89. More neutral results were obtained by Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Wen-Jui Han, and Jane Waldfogel, "First-Year Maternal Employment and Child Development in the First Seven Years," Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 75, no. 2 (2010).
  82. Much of the information in this section comes from David Blau and Janet Currie, "Pre-School, Day Care, and After School Care: Who's Minding the Kids?" in Handbook of the Economics of Education, vol. 2, edited by Eric A. Hanushek and Finis Welch (New York: North Holland, 2006), pp. 1163–278; Jane Waldfogel, What Children Need (Harvard University Press, 2006), pp. 81–125; Douglas Almond and Janet Currie, "Human Capital Developments before Age 5," Working Paper 15827 (Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, March 2010); National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, The NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development: Findings for Children up to 4 ½ Years, NIH Pub. 05-4318 (2006).
  83. Katharine Magnuson, Christopher Ruhm, and Jane Waldfogel, "Does Prekindergarten Improve School Preparation and Performance?" Economics of Education Review 26, no. 1 (2007): 33–51; Katherine Magnuson, Christopher Ruhm, and Jane Waldfogel, "The Persistence of Preschool Effects: Do Subsequent Classroom Experiences Matter?" Early Childhood Research Quarterly 22, no. 1 (2007): 18–38.
  84. NICHD Early Child Care Research Network, "Does the Amount of Time Spent in Child Care Predict Socioemotional Adjustment during the Transition to Kindergarten?" Child Development 74, no. 4 (2003): 976–1005; NICHD Early Child Care Research Network, "Type of Child Care and Children's Development at 54 Months," Early Childhood Research Quarterly 19, no. 2 (2004): 203–20; Magnuson, Ruhm, and Waldfogel, "Does Prekindergarten Improve School Preparation and Performance?" (see note 83); Susanna Loeb and others, "How Much Is Too Much? The Influence of Preschool Centers on Children's Social and Cognitive Development," Economics of Education Review 26, no. 1 (2007): 52–66. These results do not apply to the intensive model interventions, for which evidence of benefits has been obtained.
  85. Jay Belsky, "Early Child Care and Early Child Development: Major Findings of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care," European Journal of Developmental Psychology 3, no. 1 (2006): 95–110, and the references contained therein supply extensive discussion of these issues. However, Duan Peng and Philip Robins, "Who Should Care for Our Kids? The Effects of Infant Child Care on Early Child Development," Journal of Children and Poverty 16, no. 1 (2010): 1–45, uncover beneficial effects of nonparental care for disadvantaged infants.
  86. For details, see Marcia Meyers and others, "Inequality in Early Childhood Education and Care: What Do We Know?" in Social Inequality, edited by Kathryn M. Neckerman (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2004), pp. 223–69.
  87. Janet Currie and Matthew Neidell, "Getting Inside the ‘Black Box' of Head Start Quality: What Matters and What Doesn't," Economics of Education Review 26, no. 1 (2007): 83–99; Janet Currie and V. Joseph Hotz, "Accidents Will Happen? Unintentional Injury, Maternal Employment, and Child Care Policy," Journal of Health Economics 23, no. 1 (2004): 25–59; David E. Frisvold and Julie C. Lumeng, "Expanding Exposure: Can Increasing the Daily Duration of Head Start Reduce Childhood Obesity?" Journal of Human Resources 46, no. 2 (2011): 373-402.
  88. Baker, Gruber, and Milligan, "Universal Child Care, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being" (see note 79).
  89. Nabanita Datta Gupta and Marianne Simonsen, "Non-Cognitive Child Outcomes and Universal High Quality Child Care," Journal of Public Economics 94, no. 1–2 (2010): 30–43.
  90. Tarjei Havnes and Magne Mogstad, "No Child Left Behind: Universal Child Care and Children's Long-Run Outcomes," Research Department Discussion Paper 582 (Oslo: Statistics Norway, 2009).
  91. John Halpin and Ruy Teixeira with Susan Pinkus and Kelly Daley, "Battle of the Sexes Gives Way to Negotiation," in The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Changes Everything, edited by Heather Boushey and Ann O'Leary (Washington: Center for American Progress, 2009), pp. 395–417.
  92. See Jonathan Gruber, "The Incidence of Mandated Maternity Benefits," American Economic Review 84, no. 3 (1994): 622–41, for a comprehensive review of this issue in the context of mandated health insurance coverage for maternity-related expenses; and Christopher J. Ruhm, "The Economic Consequences of Parental Leave Mandates" (see note 31) for a discussion specific to parental leave benefits.
  93. Payroll taxes can be levied on both employers and employees (as is done for Social Security and Medicare) or on just one of the parties (California's paid leave program is financed by payroll taxes paid only by employees). The actual tax burden is more complicated because employers often offset their payroll tax payments by reducing wages.