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Providing Child Care

Christine Ho () and Sunha Myong ()
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Sunha Myong: School of Economics, Singapore Management University

No 18-2020, Economics and Statistics Working Papers from Singapore Management University, School of Economics

Abstract: Women’s economic empowerment has been hailed as one of the most remarkable revolutions in the past 50 years (Dunlop, 2010). Access to affordable childcare is one of the key determinants of fertility and maternal employment, with grandparents and governments often stepping up to provide much needed support to families. This chapter proposes a synthesis of the state of knowledge on child care and discusses policy relevant issues applicable to the Singapore context. Selected policies are documented and lessons from the international landscape are discussed. The chapter discusses how child care costs may affect fertility and maternal labour supply in Section 10.2. Raising children incurs both direct costs in the form of child care and opportunity costs in the form of career costs. As women struggle to jungle between the pressures of raising children and contributing as breadwinners, many delay motherhood. The trade-offs between child care, maternal employment, and fertility are discussed. The feminization of child care also seems to be an important contributor to such pressure, especially in many Asian countries. In Section 10.3, common child care support available to parents are documented and their implications on fertility and maternal labour supply are discussed. Child related support such as baby bonus and parental leave may help boost fertility. Formal child care subsidies may also help incentivize both fertility and maternal employment. Similarly, the availability of informal care support from grandparents and domestic helpers may also help boost both fertility and maternal employment. Future directions for child care policy research are discussed in Section 10.4. Providing opportunities for greater gender equality in household child care may help increase the efficacy of child care policies in boosting fertility and parental labour supply. Such policies may include flexible parental leave coupled with campaigns to reduce the stigma associated with child care leave. Policies may also include formal and informal child care subsidies coupled with good quality child care.

Pages: 32 pages
Date: 2020-09-09
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