IZA DP No. 4204: Childcare, Eldercare, and Labor Force Participation of Married Women in Urban China: 1982 - 2000
published in: Journal of Human Resources, 2011, 46 (2), 261 - 294
We employ data from the three most recent Chinese population censuses to consider married, urban women's labor force participation decisions in the context of their families and their residential locations. We are particularly interested in how the presence in the household of preschool and school-age children and/or the elderly and disabled affects women's likelihood of engaging in work outside the home. We find that the presence of older people in the household (any parent or parent-in-law and any person aged 75 or older) significantly increases prime-age urban women's likelihood of participating in market work and that presence of pre-school age children significantly decreases it. The negative effect on women's labor force participation of having young children in the household (compared to no children in the household) is substantially larger in magnitude for married, migrant women than for married, non-migrant urban residents. This appears to be explained, in part, by the practice of married, female migrants leaving their children in the care of relatives in rural areas in order to facilitate their employment.