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This paper addresses the question whether geographical access to institutionalised childcare influences mothers’ labour-force participation in the Netherlands. The conceptual framework of the paper is based on a time-geographic perspective of female labour-force participation. According to this perspective, women are faced with severe day-to-day space-time constraints that form a spatial barrier to labour-force participation. It is argued that, for many mothers with pre-school-age children, access to employment opportunities is partly determined by geographical access to childcare facilities. Using data from the Netherlands Housing Demand survey and a detailed measure of geographical access to childcare, it is shown that, for mothers with young children, the probability of being engaged in paid employment increases as the number of day-care slots per 100 children in the residential area increases. In the regression model, the effect of access to childcare on mothers’ labour-force participation is estimated after individual, household, and local labour market characteristics are controlled for.

Keywords: Female labour-force participation; GIS; childcare; geographical access; time-space constraints

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9663.2005.00439.x

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Geosciencies, Urban and Regional Research Centre Utrecht (URU), Utrecht University, PO Box 80.115, 3508 TC, The Netherlands., Email: m.vanham@geog.uu.nl 2: Department of Geography and Planning, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Institute for Metropolitan and International Development Studies (AMIDSt), Nieuwe Prinsengracht 130, 1018VZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands., Email: c.h.mulder@uva.nl

Publication date: February 1, 2005

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