"Who'll take the chair?" Maternal employment effects of a Polish (pre)school reform
Akgündüz, Yusuf Emre and Van Huizen, Thomas and Plantenga, Janneke (2020) "Who'll take the chair?" Maternal employment effects of a Polish (pre)school reform. Empirical Economics . ISSN 0377-7332 (Print) 1435-8921 (Online) Published Online First http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00181-020-01877-5
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00181-020-01877-5
This study examines the impact of preschool availability on the employment of mothers of preschool-aged children. We exploit a transitional phase of a 2009 Polish education reform that simultaneously lowered the primary school age from 7 to 6 and provided a statutory right to preschool to 5-year-olds. As a significant share of 6-year-old children moved into primary schools a year earlier, their preschool seats effectively became available for younger children. The reform thereby led to a substantial rise in the number of available preschool seats for 3- to 5-year-olds. Using regional variation in the degree of preschool expansion, we estimate the impact of the increased availability of preschool seats on maternal employment. Our results indicate a significant and sizable employment effect: a 10% points increase in the ratio of preschool seats to preschool-aged children increases maternal employment by around 4.2% points. The effect seems to be concentrated among highly educated mothers and mothers with a youngest child of age three.
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