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The labour force participation of married mothers: A tale of international catchup

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Author: 
Mumford, Karen & Parera-Nicolau, Antonia
Publication Date: 
1 Apr 2003
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We explore the determinants of the relative probabilities of labour force participation for British and Spanish married (or cohabitating) mothers. We further decompose these probabilities and find a substantial cross-national gap in participation rates which can be predominantly explained by higher wages and greater child care in Britain. As the process of unification across Europe leads to common working conditions, we expect the size of this participation gap to fall dramatically.

We have found that married (or cohabitating) mothers of children aged under 12 in Spain are substantially less likely to participate in the labour market than are similar British mothers. The majority of the gap in their predicted participation gaps can, however, be explained predominantly by higher wages and greater child care use in Britain. If the process of unification across Europe leads to common working conditions being introduced in the two countries, we expect the size of this participation gap to fall dramatically generating many extra productive workers in Spain.

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Entered Date: 
13 Apr 2003
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