, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 139–164 | Cite as

A dynamic analysis of the effect of child care costs on the work decisions of low-income mothers with infants

  • Charles L. BaumEmail author


Child care costs reduce the net benefit of working and consequently influence mothers’ decisions to work. They affect the employment of low-income mothers in particular because they represent a larger portion of these mothers’ earnings. I used a hazard framework to examine a mother’s decisions about work and hours of work after childbirth. I focused on low-income mothers with infants because they are the ones who may be most affected by child care costs. The results showed that child care costs are a barrier to work that is larger for low-income mothers than for non-low-income mothers. Further, child care costs have large negative effects on hours of work.


Child Care Wage Rate Single Mother Unobserved Heterogeneity Married Mother 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anderson, P.M. and P.B. Levine. 1999. “Child Care and Mothers’ Employment Decisions.” Unpublished manuscript, National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  2. Averett, S.L., E. Peters, and D.M. Waldman. 1997. “Tax Credits, Labor Supply, and Child Care.” Review of Economics and Statistics 79:125–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barrow, L. 1999. “An Analysis of Women’s Return-to-Work Decisions Following First Birth.” Economic Inquiry 37:432–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berger, M.C. and D.A. Black. 1992. “Child Care Subsidies, Quality of Care, and the Labor Supply of Low-Income Single Mothers.” Review of Economics and Statistics 74:635–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blau, D.M. 1998. “A Dynamic Analysis of Turnover in Employment and Child Care.” Demography 35:83–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blau, D.M. and A.P. Hagy. 1998. “They Demand for Quality in Child Care.” Journal of Political Economy 106:104–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blau, D.M. and P.K. Robins. 1988. “Child-Care Costs and Family Labor Supply.” Review of Economics and Statistics 70:374–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Connelly, R. 1992. “The Effect of Child Care Costs on Married Women’s Labor Force Participation.” Review of Economics and Statistics 74:83–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Connelly, R. and J. Kimmel. 2000. “Marital Status and Full-Time/Part-Time Work Status in Child Care Choices.” Unpublished manuscript, Economics Department, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME.Google Scholar
  10. Desai, S. and L.J. Waite. 1991. “Women’s Employment During Pregnancy and After the First Birth: Occupational Characteristics and Work Commitment.” American Sociological Review 56:551–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Even, W.E. 1987. “Career Interruptions Following Childbirth.” Journal of Labor Economics 5:255–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. General Accounting Office (GAO). 1994. “Child Care Subsidies Increase Likelihood That Low-Income Mothers Will Work” (Technical Report GAO/HEHS-95-20). Washington, DC: GAO.Google Scholar
  13. Greenstein, T. 1989. “Human Capital, Marital and Birth Timing, and the Postnatal Labor Force Participation of Married Women.” Journal of Family Issues 10:359–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gronau, R. 1973. “The Effect of Children on the Housewife’s Value of Time.” Journal of Political Economy 81:S168–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Han, W. and J. Waldfogel. 1999. “The Effect of Child Care Costs on the Employment of Single Married Mothers: Evidence From the Current Population Survey.” Unpublished manuscript, Columbia University School of Social Work.Google Scholar
  16. Heckman, J. and B. Singer. 1984. “A Method for Minimizing the Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data.” Econometrica 52:271–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Joesch, J.M. 1997. “Paid Leave and the Timing of Women’s Employment Before and After Birth.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 59:1008–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kalbfleisch, J. and R. Prentice. 1980. The Statistical Analysis of Failure Time Data. New York: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  19. Kimmel, J. 1995. “The Effectiveness of Child-Care Subsidies in Encouraging the Welfare-to-Work Transition of Low-Income Single Mothers.” American Economic Review 85:271–75.Google Scholar
  20. — 1998. “Child Care Costs as a Barrier to Employment for Single and Married Mothers.” Review of Economics and Statistics 80:287–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Klerman, J.A. and A. Leibowitz. 1990. “Child Care and Women’s Return to Work After Childbirth.” American Economic Review 80:284–88.Google Scholar
  22. —. 1999. “Job Continuity Among New Mothers.” Demography 36:145–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lancaster T. 1979. “Econometric Methods for the Duration of Unemployment.” Econometrica 47:939–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. —. 1985. “Generalized Residuals and Heterogeneous Duration Models With Applications to the Weibull Model.” Journal of Econometrics 28:155–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Leibowitz, A., J.A. Klerman, and L.J. Waite. 1992. “Employment of New Mothers and Child Care Choice: Differences by Children’s Age.” Journal of Human Resources 27:112–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Meyer, B. 1990. “Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Spells.” Econometrica 58:757–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Michalopoulos, C. and P.K. Robins. 2000. “Employment and Child-Care Choices in Canada and the United States.” Canadian Journal of Economics 33:435–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Michalopoulos, C., P.K. Robins, and I. Garfinkel. 1992. “A Structural Model of Labor Supply and Child Care Demand.” Journal of Human Resources 27:166–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mroz, T.A. 1996. “Applications of Discrete Factor Models in Labor Economics.” Unpublished manuscript, Department of Economics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.Google Scholar
  30. Mroz, T.A. and D.K. Guilkey. 1992. “Discrete Factor Approximations for Use in Simultaneous Equation Models With Both Continuous and Discrete Endogenous Variables.” Unpublished manuscript, Department of Economics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.Google Scholar
  31. Prentice, R. and L. Gloeckler. 1978. “Regression Analysis of Grouped Survival Data With Application to Breast Cancer Data.” Biometric 34:57–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ribar, D.C. 1992. “Child Care and the Labor Supply of Married Women.” Journal of Human Resources 27:134–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. — 1995. “A Structural Model of Child Care and the Labor Supply of Married Women.” Journal of Labor Economics 13:558–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Roe, B., L.A. Whittington, S.B. Fein, and M.F. Teisl. 1999. “Is There Competition Between Breast-Feeding and Maternal Employment?” Demography 36:157–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wenk, D. and P. Garrett. 1992. “Having a Baby: Some Predictions of Maternal Employment Around Childbirth.” Gender and Society 6:49–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Economics and Finance DepartmentMiddle Tennessee State UniversityMurfreesboro

Personalised recommendations