Øyvind Skorge

Øyvind (Ovi) Skorge, Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University

Care for career: mothers, toddlers, and the impact of daycare services on female leadership

With Henning Finseraas.

Working paper

Women remain underrepresented in leadership positions and high-powered jobs. In this paper, we argue that work family-policies can reduce the underrepresentation. In particular, we contend that subsidized child daycare services increase mothers' willingness to and opportunities for entering leadership positions. To provide empirical evidence, we make use of a daycare reform in Norway, which led to a staggered and extensive expansion of daycare services across the about 400 municipalities. With administrative register data on the whole population, our instrumental-variable approach reveals that mothers with two-year-olds in daycare are more likely to work in occupations requiring longer hours and in managerial positions. Moreover, using survey data we find that mothers with access to daycare are more inclined to view their career as equally important as men's. Our results document how public policies can be used to address gender inequalities in access to powerful positions.