Giraldo, Anna and Dalla Zuanna, Giampiero and Rettore, Enrico (2013) Childcare and participation at work in North-East Italy. Why do Italian and foreign mothers behave differently? [Working Paper] WORKING PAPER SERIES, 8/2013 . , PADOVA (Inedito)
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This paper examines two of the decision-making processes following the birth of a child: whether a working mother should continue with her job, and whether the couple should provide the child with formal childcare. Focusing on Padova and its district (North-East Italy), differences in the strategies of Italian and foreign mothers are discussed, controlling for socio-economic status, opinions on women's roles, and family structure, according to the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition. Six to thirty-six months after the birth of a child, the proportion of foreign mothers who are not employed is more than double that of Italian mothers (51% vs. 21%). In addition, 25% of Italian women entrust their children to the care of their parents and in-laws, vs. only 13% of foreign women. Although there are differences in the effects of individual characteristics on participation at work across the two groups, what matters most is the different composition of the Italian and foreign women's groups, especially as regards education, partners’ characteristics and attitudes towards the job market and motherhood. As regards the maximum price a couple is willing to pay for formal childcare, intended to represent parents’ preferences for formal childcare, differences between the two groups are also mainly explained by differences in composition.
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