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Filling the Gaps : Childcare Laws for Women‘s Economic Empowerment
World Bank
2023.07.05
This paper aims to provide global evidence on whether and what attributes of laws governing the provision of childcare services affect women‘s labor market outcomes. It merges country-year-level data from the World Bank‘s Women, Business and the Law database, which documents childcare laws across countries, with data on women‘s labor force participation from ILOSTAT. Using a difference-in-difference estimation framework, the analysis finds that the enactment of childcare laws increases women‘s labor force participation by 2 percent, on average. Moreover, the effect increases over time, reaching up to 4 percent five years after an enactment. This effect is driven by women who are married, have completed less than primary education, and are between the ages of 35 and 44. Lastly, regulation of the availability and affordability of childcare has a similar impact on female labor force participation, whereas the effect of quality regulation is smaller.