Childcare and Women's Labor Participation: Evidence for Latin America and the Caribbean

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Oct 2013
Reliable and affordable non-parental childcare is intimately related to female participation and other outcomes in the labor market given the conflicting demand for women's time on both, work and care activities. In terms of policy, public provision and subsidy of childcare services lift some of the time constraints and contribute to help families in the transitions through the initial years of parenthood. Both enrollment and this in turn increases the probability for mothers to look for a job or to be employed. This paper summarizes the available evidence specifically discussing characteristics and impact of childcare policies and programs in the Latin American region. Almost all random assignment and quasi-experimental studies show consistent positive effects on the intensive or extensive margins of female labor supply. This document also provides a review of incipient evidence about factors that affect program take-up and demand for childcare services and other informal care arrangements.