Presence of grandparents and labour market outcomes of mothers: evidence from Kolkata, India

Mousumi Dutta, Presidency University
Zakir Husain, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur

Given increasing participation in labour markets by women, child care has emerged as an important issue in all countries. Literature in developed countries has generally tended to focus on formal child care systems—particularly examining the impact of price changes on labour market outcomes of mothers. In recent years, however, informal child care provided by aged relatives—particularly grand-parents—has been identified as an important determinant of the mother’s decision to undertake paid work. Although the impact of informal care services bythe elderly has emerged as an important area of research in developed countries this issue has remained unexplored in developing countries like India. However, differences in social attitudes and norms towards female employment and provisioning of care services (particularly child and aged care), and presence of a variety of formal care system is likely to change the relationship observed between presence of grand-parents and decision to work of mothers’ in developing countries. This paper examines whether the presence of grand-parents is likely to increase probability of mothers’ working. The first part of the analysis is undertaken using the third wave of the Demographic Health Survey data (2005-06). Analysis reveals that presence of co-residential elderly relatives actually reduced the probability of working of women with children aged below 12 years in rural areas, towns and capital cities—only in metropolitan cities do we observe the expected positive relation between the two variables. This is followed by analysis of data from a primary survey covering 750 households in Kolkata, one of the six metropolitan cities covered under the DHS survey, to check robustness of earlier result. The type of grand-parental care provided is also examined.

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Presented in Poster Session 2