Maternal Labor Supply Effect of Child’s School Entry: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from South Korea
Thursday, November 12, 2015
Riverfront South/Central (Hyatt Regency Miami)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
South Korea has one of the lowest female labor force participation rate among developed countries. In addition, women often leave the labor force for childrearing despite being having attained relatively high levels of education. This paper examines the impact of child’s school entry on mother’ labor force decision using a natural experiment to minimize the bias that arises from endogeneity of public school enrollment. We use a unique feature of the school entry law that generates an exogenous cutoff date, which lends itself to a regression discontinuity design. Our findings suggest that for women with low levels of own or spouse’s education, enrolling their child to school leads to a sizeable increase in labor force participation. Moreover, our evidence offers some insight into the ongoing policy debates as the South Korean government recently has begun to focus on building strategies to increase women’s labor force participation especially by bringing back homemakers to the workforce.