Universal Preschool and Mothers' Employment in Mexico

Elia De la Cruz Toledo, Columbia University

Universal preschool enrollment was implemented in Mexico through a phased-in scheme from 2002 to 2008. A subsequent increase in preschool enrollment was observed and I hypothesize that higher preschool enrollment impacted positively mothers' employment. Through a difference-in-difference analysis, I exploit the state-year variation in preschool enrollment to measure its association to mothers' employment. I compare labor outcomes of mothers of preschool-aged children to mothers of younger children, mothers of older children and non-mothers. Data come from the Mexican Income and Expenditure Household Survey and from the Mexican Ministry of Education. Results indicate that universal preschool enrollment increased the employment of mothers of 3– and 4–year old children with respect to all comparison groups. In models where treatment is subject to children's observed enrollment (and not only to children's age) estimates are consistent. Results are also robust to the use of predicted enrollment by state and year in lieu of the observed enrollment rate.

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Presented in Session 24: Labor Markets, Population, and Development