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The Impact of Having a Young Child with Disabilities on Maternal Labor Supply by Race and Marital Status

Author: GEORGE L. WEHBY and ROBERT L. OHSFELDT
Published in JHHSA, Vol. 30 No. 3

Data from the National Maternal and Infant Health Survey
(NMIHS) with the three-year follow-up survey data were used to assess
the impact of having a young child with disabilities on maternal labor
supply. The oversampling of low birth-weight and African-American
births in NMIHS provides a larger proportion of disabled children and a
bigger sample of black mothers than available in data used in prior
studies. The empirical analyses examined the impact of child disability
on maternal employment participation and conditional intensity by race
and marital status using alternative measures of disability based on
occurrence of specific health conditions as well as activity performance
and general development. Exogeneity of activity-based disability
measures was tested using health conditions as instruments and
instrumental variable models were used to estimate their impacts on
maternal labor supply. The results indicated that activity-based
measures are endogenous for black single and white married mothers.
Model results suggested large reductions in likelihood of employment
participation of black single as well as white single and married
mothers. Work intensity of employed black single mothers was also
substantially reduced by child disability. Overall, no consistent effects
of child disability were observed for black married mothers.

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