Mike Brewer

Professor Mike Brewer

Research Fellow

Education:

MSc Economics and Econometrics (Distinction), University of Bristol, 1997
BA Economics and Mathematics (1st class), University of Cambridge, 1996

Mike is a Professor of Economics at the University of Essex. His main research interests are in how welfare benefits, labour market programmes and the tax system affects decisions made by households. He has written widely about welfare reform, and especially the changes to social security benefits and tax credits proposed by the current UK Government. He has been a long-time proponent of a simpler and more integrated welfare system, and his work on an integrated benefit system has been acknowledged as having informed current government policy.

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External web page: University of Essex

Free childcare and parents’ labour supply: is more better?

| Working Paper

Despite the introduction of childcare subsidies in many countries, the cost of childcare is still thought to hinder parental employment. Many governments are considering increasing the generosity of their childcare subsidies, but the a priori effect of such a policy is ambiguous and little is known empirically about its likely impact. This paper compares the effects on parents’ labour supply of offering free part-time childcare and of expanding this offer to the whole school day in England using an empirical strategy which, unlike previous studies, exploits both date of birth discontinuities and panel data. We find that the provision of free part-time childcare has little, if any, causal impact on the labour market outcomes of mothers or fathers. Increasing the number of hours of free childcare to cover a full school day, however, leads to significant increases in the labour supply of mothers whose youngest child is eligible, with impacts emerging immediately and increasing over the months following entitlement.

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