School schedules and mothers’ employment: evidence from an education reform

Matias Berthelon, Diana Kruger, Melanie Oyarzún

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Women’s employment plays an important role in household well-being, and among mothers, lack of child care is one of the main reasons for not working and not seeking employment. We investigate the effect of a reform that lengthened school schedules from half to full days in Chile—providing childcare for school aged children—on different maternal employment outcomes. Using a panel of 2814 mothers over a 7-year period, we find evidence of important positive causal effects of access to full-day schools on mother’s labor force participation, employment, weekly hours worked, and months worked during the year. We also find that lower-education and married mothers benefit most from the policy. Findings suggest that alleviating childcare needs can promote women’s attachment to the labor force, increase household incomes and alleviate poverty and inequality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-171
Number of pages41
JournalReview of Economics of the Household
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Chile
  • Education reform
  • Female employment and labor force participation
  • Full day schooling
  • Latin America
  • School schedules


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