Économie et Statistique n° 447 - 2011 Perceived Inflation - The Choice between Employment and Inactivity for Mothers of Young Children - Home insurance in Overseas Deparments - Place-of-residence Effects on Access to Employment
The choice between employment and inactivity for mothers of young children: the influence of family, occupational, and societal constraints on childcare alternatives
For the past decade, the main international organizations and national agencies in many countries have been focusing on early-childhood policies. This emphasis proceeds from two types of concerns. First, the nation pursues economic growth and fiscal balance by encouraging female participation in the workforce. Second, incentives to female employment meet women's aspirations and help to diminish the risk of household poverty. One of the consequences of the rise in female employment is the need for families to reconcile work and education (in the broad sense) of young children. These various issues have prompted the development of opinion surveys and statistics. In particular, INSEE prepared an extensive survey on early childhood care (Modes de garde et d'accueil des jeunes enfants). First conducted in 2002, the survey offered a detailed view of childcare alternatives, their financial cost to families, parental employment status, and parental opinions on childcare solutions. The survey was repeated in 2007. Drawing on the corpus of existing studies, this article enhances them with data extracted from the 2007 childcare survey, and seeks to confirm and update results obtained previously. In so doing, the author aims to identify the dynamics of two sets of decisions. The first concerns the mother's choice to enter or stay out of the labour market. The main determinants seem to be the mother's sociodemographic profile, her job, and financial considerations. The second decision concerns the choice of childcare solution, which notably depends on the parents' vision of the alternatives. Their opinion on the benefits for the child of a daycare centre versus a nanny is primarily correlated with the chosen solution, whereas their attitude towards parental care varies chiefly according to the mother's employment status.