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Heterogeneous effects of child disability on maternal labor supply: Evidence from the 2000 US Census

Nada Wasi, Bernard van den Berg and Thomas Buchmueller ()

Labour Economics, 2012, vol. 19, issue 1, 139-154

Abstract: Previous research has documented a negative relationship between child disability and maternal labor supply. Because of data limitations, most studies in this literature use broad measures of disability, which may obscure important differences among children with limiting health conditions. This paper presents new evidence on the labor supply of women with disabled children, exploiting disability information provided by 2000 US Census. This large nationally representative sample allows us to test for differences across different types of disabling conditions. We find that accounting for this heterogeneity in conditions is important. Using a broad definition of disability results in small differences between women with and without a disabled child. When we use a more detailed classification, we find larger labor supply reductions for mothers of children with physical disabilities or limitations in their ability to care for themselves. There is less evidence that having a child with either mental or emotional limitations or a sensory impairment is negatively related to employment or weekly hours. We also test for heterogeneous effects related to child age and maternal education. We find no clear pattern with respect to age and some evidence that the relationship between child disability and maternal labor supply is stronger for less educated mothers.

Keywords: Child disability; Children's health; Maternal labor supply (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:19:y:2012:i:1:p:139-154