The effect of early childhood development programs on women's labor force participation and older children's schooling in Kenya

The effect of early childhood development programs on women's labor force participation and older children's schooling in Kenya

Economic incentives have powerful effect on work behavior of women with children in Kenya

Paper analyses the effect of childcare costs on households' behaviour in Kenya. For households with children three to seven years of age, they model mothers' participation in paid work, participation in paid work of other household members, households' demand for education for school-aged children, and households' demand for child care.

Paper finds that:

  • high costs of childcare discourage households from using formal childcare and have a negative effect on the level of mothers' participation in market work
  • the costs of childcare and the levels of mothers' wages influence school enrolment of older children. The effect of these factors on boys' and girls' schooling is different, however. While an increase in mothers' wage raises school participation of boys, it reduces the school enrolment of girls
  • Higher prices of childcare have no significant effect on boys' schooling but significantly decrease girls' probabilities of being at school

Concludes that economic incentives have a powerful effect on the work behaviour of women with children in Kenya. In addition to increasing the future productivity of children, government subsidies of low-cost early childhood development programs would increase the number of mothers who work, thus increasing the incomes of poor households and lifting some families out of poverty. They would also increase older girls' enrolment in school, by releasing them from child care responsibilities.

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