Academic journal article Inquiry

Children's Emotional and Behavioral Problems and Their Mothers' Labor Supply

Academic journal article Inquiry

Children's Emotional and Behavioral Problems and Their Mothers' Labor Supply

Article excerpt

Abstract

It has been documented that about 20% of children and adolescents suffer from a diagnosable mental or addictive disorder in the United States. The high prevalence of children's emotional and behavioral problems (EBP) might have a negative effect on their mothers' labor market outcomes because children with EBP require additional time for treatment. However, these children may require additional financial resources, which might promote mothers' labor supply. Previous studies have only considered chronic conditions in analyzing the impact of children's health on parental work activities. Moreover, most of these studies have not accounted for endogeneity in children's health. This article estimates the effects of children's EBP on their mothers' labor supply by family structure while accounting for endogeneity in children's health. We used the 1997 and 2002 Child Development Supplements (CDS) to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). We used probit and bivariate probit models to estimate mothers' probability of employment, and tobit and instrumental variable tobit models to estimate the effects of children's EBP on their mothers' work hours. Findings show negative effects of children's EBP on their married mothers' employment and on their single mothers' work hours.

Keywords

labor markets outcomes, emotional and behavioral problems, PSID, labor supply

Introduction

Concerns over the social and economic consequences of highly prevalent childhood emotional and behavioral problems (EBP) have become increasingly important. In fact, it has been documented that about 20% of children and adolescents in the United States suffer from a diagnosable mental or addictive disorder. (1) In addition to their enduring effects across the life span and generations, childhood psychiatric disorders place an enormous burden on society, communities and families. (2) Parents, particularly mothers, face serious difficulty in balancing daily activities such as employment, child care, and parent-child relationships because they must invest a considerable amount of time and economic resources in these children. The high prevalence of children's EBP might have a negative effect on their mothers' labor market outcomes because children with EBP require additional time for treatment. However, these children may require additional financial resources, which would promote their mothers' work activities.

There is a long-standing literature in the economics field on the impact of children's disabilities or other chronic conditions on their parents' work activities, particularly, the effects of children's health on their single mothers' employment. (3-19) This literature is not conclusive for single mothers and shows a wide range of reductions from 5% to 30%. (3,4,6,10,13-19) Findings are more consistent across the small number of studies that have examined the impact of children's chronic illnesses on married mothers' employment. (3-5,10-12) More recent studies which have used richer data sets and larger sample sizes and have accounted for endogeneity in children's health including omitted variables bias are more consistent in their findings. They have consistently found negative effects of children's health on mothers' work activities ranging from 10% to 16%. (13,14,20-25) However, only a few studies have either considered mental health symptoms in addition to general chronic health conditions in analyzing children's health on parental work activities (7,8) or have examined the effect of having any household family member with mental illness, including children, on single and married mothers' work hours. (14,17,18)

Focusing on the most recent literature which seeks to understand the impact of children's health on parental work activities, there are four articles that are relevant to this study. (26-29) Two of these articles used different measures of child health such as birth weight, physical disabilities, and mental, emotional, sensory, and cognitive disabilities to examine the relationship between child health and mother's labor supply. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.