Bard College’s Levy Economics Institute receives $90,000 to study potential impacts of policies that expand care services in Mexico

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Blithewood, home to the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College.

The Levy Institute was awarded a $90,000 contract by the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development and the Mexican government’s Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres for the first phase of a project examining the potential impact of health service expansion policies in Mexico.

Levy Institute fellows Thomas Masterson, Rania Antonopoulos, Luiza Nassif-Pires, Fernando Rios-Avila, and Ajit Zacharias, along with Mónica E. Orozco Corona of Genders AC, will study the gender impact of universal early childhood education in Mexico. Improved access to early childhood education can ease household production responsibilities, especially for women, who do most of the unpaid care work. At the same time, investing in the care sector creates jobs, improves employment and incomes while potentially increasing the time spent in paid work. This project aims to provide a comprehensive assessment of the welfare impact of investing in early childhood education in Mexico by creating a framework that keeps track of all these simultaneous outcomes. Considering time and income effects allows exploration of the multiple gendered economic outcomes of expanding care services – in terms of job creation and income generation as well as changes in workload unpaid and paid women relative to men and the associated risk of time poverty.

“The responsibility for unpaid care work, which falls most heavily on women within households, is a major barrier to women’s engagement in the labor market. Relatively little research has directly examined the links between the social provision of care, the expansion of employment opportunities for women and growth. Even less attention has been paid to the potential impact of labor engagement on women’s time use and time poverty,” said Tom Masterson, Levy Institute researcher and director applied micromodelling.

Later phases of the project plan to include estimates for the extension of class hours for school-aged children and the provision of universal care for the elderly in Mexico.

This work builds on related Levy Institute research conducted for Ghana and Tanzania (supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation) and Turkey (in partnership with the International Labor Organization, the United Nations Development and UN Women).

Publication date : 25-03-2022

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