Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
- PublicationMaternal Employment, Childcare and Childhood Overweight during Infancy(University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2014-10)
;This paper examines the relationship between maternal employment, childcare during infancy and the overweight status of pre-school children. Using data from the Infant Cohort of the Growing-Up in Ireland Survey, propensity score matching addresses the issue of potential selection bias, quantile regression allows the impact of both maternal employment and childcare to be examined throughout the weight distribution and multiple imputation is used to address the problem of missing data due to item non-response. The results suggest that both full-time and part-time maternal employment when a child is 9 months old increase the likelihood of being overweight at 3 years old, but only for children of mothers with higher levels of education. Informal childcare at 9 months also has harmful effects on child weight, but again only for children of more educated mothers. Quantile regression finds that the children most impacted by maternal employment are those at the upper percentiles of the weight distribution. When selection on observables is used to assess bias arising from selection on unobservables, maternal employment estimates are determined to be a lower bound, while informal childcare results could be attributed to selection bias. Overall findings are consistent with research from North America and the United Kingdom, and are in contrast to recent findings from the rest of Europe, suggesting the possible role of institutional factors. 135
- PublicationNon-cognitive development in infancy: the influence of maternal employment and the mediating role of childcare(University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2016-02)This paper examines the relationship between maternal employment during infancy and the non-cognitive development of pre-school children. Noncognitive skills such as self-control, emotional regulation, empathy and patience are at least as important as cognitive skills for personal development and later labour market success. Drawing on recent advances in the economics literature on the theory of skill formation, this study uses data on Irish pre-school children (Growing Up in Ireland, Infant Cohort) to examine the influence of maternal employment in infancy on children’s non-cognitive skills. Propensity score matching addresses the issue of potential selection bias and mediation analysis is used to investigate possible mechanisms for the effect of maternal employment, in particular the role of childcare, parental stress, quality of parent-child attachment and income. Using the score derived from the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) to identify a problematic behavioural score at 3 years, no significant effects are found for maternal employment at 9 months. However, when heterogeneity is investigated, effects are identified for children from less advantaged backgrounds, as measured by maternal education, with full-time maternal employment at 9 months having a significant and detrimental effect on non-cognitive development at 3 years old. This effect is primarily mediated by childcare choices, such that children in informal childcare at 9 months, particularly unpaid grandparental arrangements, are more likely to have behavioural difficulties at 3 years. While parent-child attachment plays a modest role, income and parental stress do not explain the effect of maternal employment on child socio-emotional scores. When selection on observables is used to assess bias arising from selection on unobservables, maternal employment estimates are determined to be a lower bound. As no adverse effects are found for children from more advantaged backgrounds, policies that support less advantaged families during this sensitive period, such as adequate paid maternity leave and access to quality affordable childcare, should be considered in order to address this inequality.