Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 128–151 | Cite as

Close to Home: A Simultaneous Equations Model of the Relationship Between Child Care Accessibility and Female Labor Force Participation

  • Chris M. Herbst
  • Burt S. Barnow
Original Paper


Rising rates of maternal employment among current and former welfare recipients have increased the use of non-parental child care. Little empirical work examines the relationship between women’s labor supply and the geographic supply of child care. We combine census data with child care provider information for the state of Maryland to explore the relationship between female labor supply and the geographic supply of child care. OLS and 3-SLS equations are estimated, and the findings are consistent across each estimator: Women’s labor supply is sensitive to the geographic supply of child care and vice versa. These results are important because states now spend significant money on quality improvement initiatives, many of which increase child care supply in low-income neighborhoods.


Child care Female labor supply Geography Simultaneous equations 



The authors would like to thank Mark Lopez, Jeffrey Smith, and two anonymous referees for their helpful comments on previous drafts of this paper. Participants at the 2006 Head Start National Research Conference and the 2002 Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Fall Research Conference provided helpful advice. Special thanks go to the Maryland Committee for Children for providing data and technical assistance. All remaining errors belong to the authors. The views expressed here are those exclusively of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public AffairsArizona State UniversityPhoenixUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Policy StudiesThe Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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