1504.0 - Methodological News, Mar 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/04/2005   
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In conjunction with the Family and Community section in Population Statistics Group, Analysis Branch has commenced a project to understand the reliability and useability of ABS' childcare data, and model childcare use, welfare participation and labour participation of mothers. The first stage of the project is to assess the quality of the ABS Child Care Survey data. This involves investigations on accuracy, consistency, completeness, duplication, conformity and integrity of the 2002 ABS Childcare survey data. Attention will be given to data on childcare costs, childcare care benefits, type of childcare service used and the employment behaviour of mothers. Data from the survey are to be compared with childcare data from independent sources. Data comparisons will be carried out on various sub populations of interest.

The second stage of the project aims to analyse the structure and determinants of the use of paid childcare; and to what extent paid childcare constitutes a barrier to labour supply from mothers. Thus far, the evidence of the relationship between childcare utilisation, affordability and female labour supply in Australia is inconclusive. Some past studies have demonstrated that there is no evidence of a positive relationship between childcare use and female employment. Further, the impact on employment of mothers with young children due to decreased in childcare affordability was small. On the other hand, other studies gave evidence of women reducing hours or withdrawing from work because of the high cost of care.

We are exploring the use of structural equation modeling techniques to examine the simultaneous relationship of mothers with young children in making choices of using paid childcare, receiving childcare benefits and participating in labour market. In this analysis, we will treat mothers' choice of using paid childcare and welfare dependence as endogeneous decisions and will be resolved simultaneously with the decision on labour participation.

For more information, please contact, Poh Ping Lim on (02) 6252 7271

Email: poh.ping.lim@abs.gov.au