Help at Home: Government-Subsidised Household Production Services and the Gender Gap in Labour Supplyedit
Charpin, A., & Tojerow, I.
FNRS Grant, 2022 -2023
Our research explores the links between the predominant role of women in household production activities and systemic gender gaps on the labour market. Concretely, we investigate how subsidising the purchase of personal household services (PHS) impacts the labour supply of men and women and, in turn, the gender wage gap. Our research project leverages the Belgian Service Voucher Scheme (SVS), a public policy launched in 2004 to support the purchase of PHS. Our empirical approach isolates plausibly exogenous variation in the price of substitutes to household production generated by the SVS as well as geographic variation in the availability of domestic workers. We implement our research design by combining the Belgian Crossroads Bank for Social Security (CBSS) administrative data, which allows us to identify SVS workers precisely, with tax records that document the users’ purchase of service vouchers under the SVS. To our knowledge, our research project will be the first to provide causal evidence linking government-subsidised household production services to their users’ labour supply decisions. From a public policy perspective, it will contribute to understanding the nature of the constraints that women face and thus to addressing the gender gaps that remain on the labour market.