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Immigration, childcare and gender differences in the Spanish labor market

Working Paper 2022-610

Abstract

This paper analyzes the effect of immigrants on the women-men gap in several labor market outcomes, focusing on their role as child caretakers and substitutes for women’s domestic work. We use administrative Spanish Social Security records from 1998 to 2008 and follow a spatial correlations approach with instrumental variables, based on the distribution of early migrants across provinces. We exploit the presence of children and its interaction with immigrants share to capture the home-care substitution effect. We find that one percentage point increase in the regional share of immigrants rises the women-men differential in employment probability by 0.6 points in families with children, while the effect equals 0.2 for the childless. The additional effect of 0.4 points on families with children is attributed to the impact of immigrants through the supply of childcare services. This effect also applies to the work intensity (days and hours worked) and labor earnings. Our results are largely driven by individuals below tertiary education.

Authors: Amaia Palencia-Esteban.

Keywords: D10, F22, J22, J31
JEL: Immigration, gender gap, labor market, household services