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Quality of Day Care Affects Employment Patterns of Mothers with Toddlers - Stronger Link in Eastern Germany

Press Release of May 21, 2014

When mothers with young children contemplate employment, a decisive factor is whether day care is available. Extensive research has been carried out on the subject. However, to date, it has failed to address the extent to which the quality of day care affects maternal employment decisions. We examine this research question using data from the Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) and the extension sample Families in Germany (FiD) in conjunction with data from the child and youth services statistics. The official data allow us to measure the quality of day care centers in youth office districts. The data include, for instance, the size of groups in day care centers and the child-staff-ratios. Our analyses show a link between some quality characteristics and the employment patterns of mothers with children under three years. The link is stronger in Eastern Germany than in Western Germany. However, this only applies to characteristics which are also evident to parents, for example, the group size , but not qualifications of pedagogical staff. Overall, the findings indicate that high-quality child care can also be relevant for reconciling work and family life.