Information and Women's Intentions: Experimental Evidence about Child Care

Working paper n°: 75

Unit: Population Dynamics and Health,Dondena Gender Initiative

Author(s): Vincenzo Galasso, Paola Profeta, Chiara Pronzato, Francesco Billari

Year: 2015

ABSTRACT We investigate the effect of providing information about the benefits to children of attending formal child care when women intend to use formal child care so they can work. We postulate that the reaction to the information differs across women according to their characteristics, specifically their level of education. We present a randomized experiment in which 700 Italian women of reproductive age with no children are exposed to positive information about formal child care through a text message or a video, while others are not. We find a positive effect on the intention to use formal child care, and a negative effect on the intention to work. This average result hides important heterogeneities: the positive effect on formal child care use is driven by better-educated women, while the negative effect on work intention is found only among less-educated women. These findings may be explained by women’s education reflecting their work-family orientation, and their ability to afford formal child care.

Vincenzo Galasso

Università Bocconi Department of Policy Analysis,


Paola Profeta

Università Bocconi Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics and Public Policy, CHILD, and CESifo


Chiara Pronzato

Università di Torino, Department of Economics and Statistics


Francesco Billari

Oxford University


Keywords: female labour supply, education, gender roles.


The paper may be downloaded here.





Last updated 13 July 2015 - 10:53:43