UNIVERSAL CHILD CARE AND ITS EFFECT ON DIVORCE AND SEPARATION: A STUDY OF QUÉBEC’S 5 DOLLAR-A-DAY CHILD CARE PROGRAM
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This paper looks at the effects of a policy change that Canada’s second largest province implemented. In 1997, Québec chose to implement a 5 dollar-a-day child care program to make access to child care more affordable for individuals in the province. The policy was successful in increasing the female labour force participation (Lefebvre and Merrigan 2008), but studies have shown that there have been negative indirect effects of the policy implementation as well. Baker et al. (2008) show the negative effects of the policy on the behaviour and development of children as well as the lower-quality parental relationships. This paper finds a relationship between the policy change and the divorce and separation rates in the province of Québec. A difference-in-differences approach is used to compare Québec with the rest of Canada and the results show a statistically significant increase in the divorce rate after the policy implementation in Québec.