Many governments are considering expanding childcare subsidies to increase the labour force participation of parents (especially mothers) with young children. In this paper, we study the potential impact of such a policy by comparing the eﬀects of oﬀering free part-time childcare and of expanding this offer to the whole school day in the context of England. We use two diﬀerent strategies exploiting free childcare eligibility rules based on date of birth. Both strategies suggest that free part-time childcare only marginally aﬀects the labour force participation of mothers whose youngest child is eligible, but expanding from part-time to full-time free childcare leads to signiﬁcant increases in labour force partici-pation and employment of these mothers. These eﬀects emerge immediately and grow over the months following entitlement. We ﬁnd no evidence that parents adjust their labour supply in anticipation of their children’s entitlement to free childcare.
Research Fellow University College London
Claire is a Research Fellow at IFS, working on the determinants and consequences of participation in childcare and education for parents and children.
Sarah is an Associate Director in the Education and Skills sector at the IFS, holding a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship.
Working Paper details
- The IFS
Brewer, M et al. (2020). Does more free childcare help parents work more?. London: The IFS. Available at: https://ifs.org.uk/publications/does-more-free-childcare-help-parents-work-more-0 (accessed: 25 February 2024).
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