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Research seminar "Childcare Costs and Timing of Maternal Employment Decisions after Childbirth"

Speaker: Natalia Gashenina (HSE Master Program graduate).

Laboratory for Labour Market Studies and Centre for Labour Market Studies held the Research Seminar on October 2, 2018.

Speaker: Natalia Gashenina, HSE Master Program "Population and Development" graduate.

Theme: Childcare Costs and Timing of Maternal Employment Decisions after Childbirth.

Higher childcare costs make mothers of children under the age of four postpone their employment after the childbirth. Mothers who don’t have access to informal care, start to work later because public childcare slots for children younger than two years old remain scarce in Russia. Using the relatively detailed information available in the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey - Higher School of Economics, this paper explores women’s decision to return to work within four years of the birth of their children, focusing particularly on the effect of child care costs. 


Consistent with economic theory, multinomial logistic analysis proves that childcare costs significantly related to the employment decisions of mothers with children under the age of four. Higher childcare costs make mothers to postpone the return to the labor market, and mothers with children under the age of three are less likely to start to work compared to the mother who started to work when their child reached the age of three. Previous employment history and higher pre-birth wage, which is considered as opportunity costs for a maternal employment decision, are positively related to the earlier return to work. Women with children 0-17 months old are most sensitive to the majority of determinants of a maternal employment decision, including childcare costs, wage, availability of public childcare, access to part-time work opportunities, family structure and non-working income, which is most likely determined by the social and family policy in Russia.

Discussant: Olga Lazareva, assistant professor of HSE Department of Applied Economics.