Grandparent-provided childcare and labor force participation of mothers with preschool children in Urban China

  • Fenglian DuEmail author
  • Xiao-yuan Dong
  • Yinyu Zhang
Original Article


This paper investigates the effects of grandparent-provided childcare and the access to daycare services on the labor force participation of mothers with children under 7 years old in urban China. Using two-stage residual inclusion method, the analysis finds that grandparent-provided childcare and the access to daycare services both have strong positive effects on maternal labor force participation (MLFP). Specifically, having grandparent-provided childcare increases MLFP by 38–43%, whereas having access to daycare services increases MLFP by 24–29%. The analysis also finds that having a healthy grandmother is a significant determinant in whether grandparent-provided childcare is utilized and that the demand for grandparent-provided childcare is higher in localities in which daycare services for children under 3 years old are more expensive. These results indicate that grandparents, particularly grandmothers, play an important role in sustaining MLFP, particularly as the supply of publicly funded daycare programs is declining.


Grandparent-provided childcare Labor force participation Two-stage residual inclusion (2SRI) method 



The work was carried out with the aid of a grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant no. 71373111) and a grant from the International Development Research Center of Canada (Project no. 107579). We also benefit greatly from the comments and suggestions of Margaret Maurer-Fazio on an earlier version of the paper.


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Copyright information

© China Population and Development Research 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Inner Mongolian UniversityHohhotChina
  2. 2.University of WinnipegWinnipegCanada

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