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The wall for mothers with first graders: availability of afterschool childcare and continuity of maternal labor supply in Japan

Reo Takaku ()
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Reo Takaku: Institute for Health Economics and Policy

Review of Economics of the Household, 2019, vol. 17, issue 1, 177-199

Abstract: Abstract In Japan, the availability of afterschool childcare for young school children is quite limited, although many preschool children attend daycare centers. As a result, parents experience a sudden lack of formal childcare when their child starts school. This dearth of childcare services is notorious, and has been referred to as the “Wall for Mothers with First Graders”. To illustrate the quantitative impacts of the Wall, I compare the maternal labor supply between nuclear and three-generation households at the time of the firstborn child’s school entry. Since mothers from three-generation households generally substitute formal afterschool childcare with informal childcare provided by the grandparents, I hypothesize that the first child’s school entry mainly affects the labor supply of mothers from nuclear households. Using the Japanese Panel Survey of Consumers, a difference-in-differences/event-study analysis is applied to the sample of mothers whose firstborn child was in daycare as a preschooler. The overall findings are generally consistent with my hypothesis. First, the baseline result shows that the labor market participation rate decreases by 10.9 percentage points at the time of their firstborn child’s school entry among mothers from nuclear households compared with those from three-generation households. Second, the firstborn child’s school entry decreases his/her mother’s daily paid work by about half an hour and increases time allocated to housework and childcare by the same amount. Taken together, this study shows that the shortage of afterschool childcare among nuclear households interrupts maternal labor supply.

Keywords: Afterschool childcare; School entry; Maternal employment; Nuclear household; Three-generation household (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J13 J21 J22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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