Empirical Economics

, Volume 57, Issue 3, pp 769–803 | Cite as

School entry, afternoon care, and mothers’ labour supply

  • Ludovica Gambaro
  • Jan MarcusEmail author
  • Frauke Peter


The availability of childcare is a crucial factor for mothers’ labour force participation. While most of the literature examines childcare for preschool children, we specifically focus on primary school-aged children, estimating the effect of formal afternoon care on maternal labour supply. To do so, we use a novel matching technique, entropy balancing, and draw on the rich and longitudinal data of the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). We show that children’s afternoon care increases mothers’ employment rates and their working hours. To confirm the robustness of our results, we conduct a series of sensitivity analyses and apply a newly proposed method to assess possible bias from omitted variables. Our findings highlight how childcare availability shapes maternal employment patterns well after school entry.


Afternoon care Maternal labour supply All-day schools Entropy balancing 

JEL Classification

J13 J63 J65 



We gratefully acknowledge support by the College for Interdisciplinary Educational Research (CIDER). Moreover, we thank C. Katharina Spieß, Adam Lederer, Janina Nemitz, seminar participants at the University of Chicago and DIW Berlin, as well as participants of the GEBF 2016 and the 2016 ESPE conferences for valuable comments.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DIW BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.UCL Institute of EducationLondonUK
  3. 3.Universität HamburgHamburgGermany

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