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Low labor force participation among mothers in North Africa and the Middle East is often attributed to cultural factors independent of economic considerations. There is little evidence, however, to support or refute this view. In September 1999, the Israeli government introduced free public preschool for children aged 3 and 4. I use this policy change to estimate the effects of a reduction in child care costs on preschool enrollment, and Arab mothers' labor supply and fertility. I find that as a result of the intervention, preschool enrollment and mothers' labor supply both increased sharply. The increase in labor supply occurred mainly among more educated mothers. In spite of increasing labor force participation, the fertility of these mothers appears to have been unchanged in the short-run. There is no evidence of an effect on mothers in affected towns who did not have children of preschool age.
Intervention settings: Peri-urban.
Intervention description: Compulsory and Free Preschool Law (analyzing effect of law).
Methodology: Difference-in-differences comparing 11 treated towns and 13 untreated towns.
Sample: Program for all children, but preschools were first made available in poor areas. Sample consists mainly of Arab mothers.
Findings: Increase in preschool enrollment, especially among children of educated mothers, and mother's labor supply.
Study of Self-employed Women's Association (SEWA) program in IndiaBaldawi
Intervention settings: Rural
Intervention description: Program provided health care, child care, banking and insurance services.
Methodology: Cross-sectional comparisons of participants and non-participants, and participants' reports on how program changed their lives.
Sample: Mothers and children who attended centers in two districts 10 years ago.
Findings: 42%-53% of mothers report increased productivity, employment days and family savings.
Gonzalez-Velosa et al (2012)
Job training programs for vulnerable youth are the main response of Latin American governments to address the problem of inadequate employment opportunities for young people. Despite its importance, knowledge about these programs is scarce. This study contributes to filling this gap in the literature by presenting new evidence on the effectiveness of six of these programs operating or that were implemented in Colombia, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Dominican Republic. This analysis uses the results of impact evaluations of these programs and the results of qualitative surveys of young participants and employers, and in-depth interviews to training centers, employers and policy makers. The main results confirm the limited evidence available, namely, that these programs have little impact on the probability of getting a job (although there is a high heterogeneity in these impacts), but a significant impact on job quality. From this analysis, we propose a research agenda to improve knowledge on the functioning and impact of these programs, and provide a series of recommendations to improve the design and increase the effectiveness of youth training programs.
Intervention settings: Mixed
Intervention description: Vocational classroom and on-the-job training and job placement.
Sample: Youth and adults. Offered to men and women 16-29 years old from lower socioeconomic strata, and those meeting educational and skill requirements of participating firms.
Findings: 7%-12% increase in employment for women only. Three to seven hours per week increase in weekly hours worked for women only. Especially successful in countries with established private vocational training industry, significant wage employment and high female mobility.
The Impact of Access to Free Childcare on Women's Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Low-Income Neighborhoods of Rio de JaneiroBarros et al (2011)
Intervention settings: Urban.
Intervention description: Publicly provided child care.
Methodology: Program assignment originally based on a lottery, with lottery winners getting program and losers being put on waiting list.
Sample: Poor mothers.
Findings: Increase in use of care (51% to 94%), mothers' employment (36%-46%) - especially among mothers not working six months before lottery (97%).
Evaluating Preschool Programs When Length of Exposure to the Program Varies: A Nonparametric ApproachBehrman, Cheng, and Todd (2004)
Nonexperimental data are used to evaluate impacts of a Bolivian preschool program on cognitive, psychosocial, and anthropometric outcomes. Impacts are shown to be highly dependent on age and exposure duration. To minimize the effect of distributional assumptions, program impacts are estimated as nonparametric functions of age and duration. A generalized matching estimator is developed and used to control for nonrandom selectivity into the program and into exposure durations. Comparisons with three groups-children in the feeder area not in the program, children in the program for less than or equal to 1 month, and children living in similar areas without the program-indicate that estimates are robust for significant positive effects of the program on cognitive and psychosocial outcomes with greater than or equal to 7 months' exposure, although the age patterns of effects differ slightly by comparison group. Copyright 2004 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Intervention settings: Urban.
Intervention description: Training and unemployment benefits, including a public service component, where local government and other eligible organizations propose public projects and hire ALMP participants to work on them.
Methodology: Estimation as nonparametric functions of age and duration.
Sample: Adults. Registered unemployed, having income less than 50% of minimum wage, employed 6 months of last 12 or recent graduate. 45% of sample had university degree.
Findings: Statistically significant effects on the likelihood of employment, the likelihood of being employed at least once and on wage levels. Middle aged had biggest impacts. Retraining increases the probability of employment and decreases the wage for females. Program not beneficial for highly educated.