Research Insights: Can Increased Childcare Availability Shrink the Gender Gap in Employment?

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Oct 2022
In Mexico, a grandmothers death, through its impact on childcare availability, reduces mothers employment rate by 12 percentage points but does not affect fathers employment rate. This equals half of the gender gap in the employment rate. As grandmothers are a major source of childcare around the world, this paper uses the timing of grandmothers death as variation in childcare availability and disentangles the effect of the grandmothers death through the childcare mechanism from alternative mechanisms. The effect on mothers employment is smaller in municipalities where public daycare is more available or private daycare is more affordable.