Mothers' childcare and labour supply choices: an empirical, comparative analysis between Brazil and United Kingdom
AffiliationUniversity of Wolverhampton Business School, Faculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences
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AbstractDespite the growing literature, the relationship between childcare provision and mothers' labour supply decisions is not fully comprehended by researchers and policymakers yet. The quite consensual importance is commonly followed by non-conclusive empirical evidences, generating doubts about the actual effectiveness of childcare policies due to promote mothers' life-balance between family and work. This thesis aims to contribute to this debate presenting an empirical, comparative analysis between a developing and a developed country, Brazil and United Kingdom (UK), addressing different interventions regarding mothers' childcare and labour supply choices. For the Brazilian case, this thesis presents and discusses the effects a reform on Brazil's primary education system possibly had on mothers' labour market outcomes. This reform advanced children's compulsory enrolment in primary education schools from the age of 7 to 6. Because of the imperfect compliance of the reform implementation, children's month of birth is used as an instrumental variable to control the endogeneity present at their actual enrolment in schools. The results show that to advance children's enrolment in the primary education system had positive effects on the labour supply of the single and least educated mothers, increasing their participation in job market and probability of becoming full time workers respectively. These results are different from those found in the recent literature about traditional kinds of childcare and mothers' labour supply, suggesting that childcare and primary education policies have to be considered separately regarding their influences on mothers' labour supply outcomes. In turn, UK is one of the largest investors in childcare policies among the developed countries. However, the empirical literature shows these investments have been ineffective to support British working mothers, what becomes even more complex in a context where informal kinds of childcare are available to mothers. In this scenario, UK equally appears as an important case study, since this country is the one where mothers present the highest preference for informal kinds of childcare among the OECD members (OECD, 2016). To deal with this, bivariate probit and multinomial logit econometric strategies are applied to UK's data to verify the determinants of mothers' preferences for formal childcare and labour supply, considering the use of informal childcare as one of the explanatory variables. The results highlight the positive influence the use of informal childcare by British mothers has on their labour supply and formal childcare choices. Furthermore, they show British married mothers conciliate formal and informal childcare arrangements as complements. The conclusion is that childcare remains as key intervention to support working mothers in both contexts of Brazil and the UK - in Brazil's case, to address the lack of childcare provision and, in the UK's one, regarding the use/availability of informal kinds of childcare. Furthermore, mother's marital status plays an essential role in the way she responds to childcare interventions, being particularly and positively affected in the case of Brazil and responding to informal childcare use/availability whether she is married in the case of UK. It generates important childcare policy implications due to support working mothers, such as the expansion of childcare provision in Brazil, the account of informal childcare in the UK, and the consideration of mother's marital status (and education) in both cases.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionSubmitted to the Business School of the University of Wolverhampton in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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