Socio-economic differentials in the uptake of (in)formal childcare and the effects of childcare strategies on second birth hazards

Karel Neels, Universiteit Antwerpen
Jonas Wood, Universiteit Antwerpen
Tine Kil, Universiteit Antwerpen

The positive association between fertility and female employment in OECD countries suggests that family policies have played an important role in reducing the ‘parent-worker’ conflict. The empirical literature, however, finds only small positive effects of family policies on fertility, but has typically failed to consider eligibility and uptake of family policies at the individual level, as well as population heterogeneity in the uptake and effect of these policies. Using longitudinal individual-level data from the 2001 Census and the National Register, we document socio-economic and educational differentials in the uptake of formal childcare (kindergarten, daycare mothers) and informal childcare arrangements (family or household members) in Belgium in 2001 and analyze the effect on second birth hazards in the period 2002-2005 using late entry discrete-time hazard models. In line with theoretical expectations, results show that 70 per cent of the higher educated women make use of formal childcare arrangements compared to 35 per cent of the middle and only 20 percent of the lower educated women. Among middle educated women informal care is the dominant mode of childcare, whereas lower educated women have the highest probability of not using any type of formal or informal childcare arrangement. With respect to the effect of childcare on second birth hazards, the analyses show that focusing on each mode of childcare separately yields inconsistent results, whereas simultaneously considering non-uptake, unimodal uptake and combined uptake of different modes of childcare shows strong positive effects of informal and particularly formal childcare arrangements on second birth hazards, the effects being particularly articulated for higher educated women.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 116: Policy and fertility