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Household Childcare Choices and Women's Work Behavior in Russia

Lokshin M.
The author models mothers' participation in the labor force, their working hours, and household demand for childcare in Russia. The model estimates the effects of the price of childcare, mothers' wages, and household income on household behavior and well-being. The theoretical model yields several predictions. To test these, reduced-form equations of the discrete and continuous household choices are estimated jointly using the method of semi-parametric full information maximum likelihood. This method controls for the correlation of error terms across outcomes, and the correlation of error terms that can result when panel data are used. The results of this analysis indicate that the extent to which mothers participate in the labor force, and for how many hours, depends on the costs of childcare and on what level of hourly wage is available to them and to other members of the household. The author's simulations show that family allowances - intended to reduce poverty - do not significantly affect the household choice of childcare arrangements. Replacing family allowances with childcare subsidies might have a strong positive effect on women's participation in the labor force and thus could be effective in reducing poverty.