Frischseminar: Anne Lise Breivik
Effects of Universal Childcare on Long-Run Health
This paper examines the impact of increased access to universal childcare on adult health measured in midlife. We identify no adverse long-run effects on physical health, but affected women increase their use of pregnancy-related healthcare services and sickness absence. These are not driven by a change in fertility and do not seem to translate into improved birth outcomes for the second generation. We discuss two potential mechanisms:
increased preventive health behaviour and parental investment in children, respectively.
We also observe a modest reduction in the use of mental healthcare services and services related to injuries and social problems, pointing toward improved mental health. Children most likely to be affected by the reform, namely the children of employed mothers, are driving the effects.