Grandparents and kindergartens: childcare combinations and second births in the United Kingdom

Roberta Rutigliano, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Fertility trends in the United Kingdom have remained fairly stable over the last three decades. Nonetheless, these trends are highly heterogeneous across different subgroups of the population. Fertility postponement seems to have unequal consequences among different types of families. On the one hand, higher educated women tend to have a lower probability of reaching their desired fertility but, they have more resources to afford the necessary amount of pre-school childcare. On the other hand, lower educated women have a higher risk of childbirth but fewer resources to afford the childcare arrangement they need. Along with formal care, grandparental help represents an increasingly popular alternative option for childcare provision among Britons. This paper analyzes the role of formal (private and public) and informal, namely grandparental, care in influencing the transition to second birth among couples in the UK. This study makes several contributions to the work-family strain and fertility literature. First, it considers jointly both formal and informal care as a part of a unique arrangement chosen by the families. Second, we use measures of the potential supply of both formal and informal childcare in order to reduce endogeneity issues. Finally, the analysis is carried out combining panel individual data from the Millennium Cohort Study and administrative data from the Department of Education, at local authority level. This allows us to provide a clearer picture of the ongoing spatial heterogeneity and its effects.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session 2