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Development Analytics Research and Evaluation Portfolio on Women’s Empowerment and Care Policies 

March 2023

Development Analytics Research and Evaluation Portfolio on Women’s Empowerment and Care Policies

Expanding access to quality and affordable child care offers to be a beneficial investment for countries as it helps improving children’s foundational skills while also enhancing women’s empowerment through enabling women to participate in the labour force. Over the last decade, Development Analytics has carried out several studies looking specifically at childcare policies and programmes and their ability to improve the overall well-being of children and their families. These studies were carried out for partners and clients including the World Bank, UNICEF, AfD, Foundation for the Support of Women’s Work (KEDV) and The Mother-Child Education Foundation (AÇEV). DA’s work related to care policies and programmes can be categorized into four main themes according to the topic or the analysis method focused on:

1. Understanding the supply of and demand for ECEC services and  identifying the bottlenecks for improved access to ECEC

It is estimated that 40 per cent of children below primary school entry age globally do not have access to childcare.  A number of our studies focused on understanding the supply of and demand for ECEC services and bottlenecks leading to low levels of access.​¹ For a project conducted for the World Bank, we carried out an assessment of the childcare provision market in Turkey utilising supply-side provider level and demand-side household data. This analysis showed that the current utilization of childcare services in Turkey cannot be construed as a lack of demand for services, but rather as a lack of demand for services at existing cost and price-quality structures. Existing services that respond to the needs of working mothers are mainly private services and tend to be more expensively priced than the willingness and ability to pay of the average household. For another study for the World Bank, we carried out quantitative data analysis to assess the impact of restrictive regulations hindering Turkey’s private childcare capacity. This paper, looking at the outdoor space requirement that was originally imposed on private providers in the 1960s and has over time become more difficult to fulfil in densely populated districts of the city estimates that controlling for other provider characteristics, in districts where such requirement is more binding, the price of childcare services increases by 376.2 TL per child per month and the percentage of children enrolled coming from "poor" backgrounds is lower by 15.1% points than in districts where this standard proves less challenging.   In Turkey, we also worked with AÇEV to study the status of aged 0-6 children, including statistical analysis and international comparisons on children’s well-being. This study included an assessment of children’s status with regard to the use of ECEC services and the policies and programmes related to ECEC in Turkey. This part of the study highlighted that access to ECEC services is linked with household wealth and poorer children have lower access compared to children living in more affluent households.

2. Simulating the impact of capacity expansion and/or provision of subsidies on the use of ECEC services

Barriers to a greater access and take-up of ECEC services include a lack of capacity as well as costs of existing ECEC services for families. Hence it is important to understand the possible impact of different programme and policy options to improve access and compare and contrast them to the extent possible. Building tailor-made simulations to understand the possible impact of different programs and policies is one of the specific expertise areas of DA. And DA has been carrying out these simulations for childcare-related work as well. In a project for the World Bank, we developed an ex-ante simulation model and estimated the cost-effectiveness and impact of various childcare subsidy policies and childcare vouchers on female labour force participation and utilization of childcare services using supply-side provider data. The results reveal that the choice of the subsidy delivery model has a strong bearing on the benefit incidence and cost-effectiveness of the subsidy. In places where significant supply-side constraints exist in the market, a demand-side voucher system is shown not to be a cost-effective subsidy delivery model.

Most recently, for UNICEF Turkey we are currently carrying out a costing study simulating the costs of a possible capacity expansion in ECEC services for different age groups and the distributional impact of this expansion.

3. Understanding the care burden at home and estimating the monetary value of time used on care activities in the household

Unpaid care work is mostly carried out by women, globally, leading women to be more time-poor and participate in labour force less. Globally, 76.2 per cent of the total amount of unpaid care work is carried out by women.² The high burden of care work causes women to stay out of labour force. 606 million working-age women declared themselves to be not looking for a job due to unpaid care while 41 million men report the same reason for not looking for work.³  As DA, we have also focused on understanding the care burden at home, time spent on care activities in the household and estimating the gender imbalances. We carried out a multi-country gender analysis in 34 countries in the ECA region for the World Bank, using the World Bank/EBRD Life in Transition Survey. This study focused on gender differences in four key areas: i) employment and entrepreneurial activity, ii) asset ownership, iii) the burden of care in the household and attitudes towards its need and provision, and iv) norms on gender roles and attitudes towards the gender balance in household decision making. The analysis showed that women still face challenges to fully participate in economic activity and have an equal say in household decision-making. The study also highlighted that childcare needs in the household affect women adversely in terms of employment outcomes.

For another study for the World Bank, we utilised labour force and time use surveys to estimate the economic value of unpaid elderly and childcare activities provided by Turkish women in the household and offered policy options to reduce women's care burden. The paper showed that the value of direct care, which constitutes a lower bound for overall care activities of women, is estimated to be around 1.37-3.34 percent of GDP as of 2011 for Turkey.  Another paper built a microsimulation model using EU-SILC data looking at the impact of childcare subsidies on female labour force participation

4. Projects evaluations &/ impact evaluations related to child care and gender

Our work on child care also includes project evaluations of NGO interventions. Focusing on NGO interventions in Turkey, Development Analytics has evaluated several projects implemented by leading Turkish NGOs and funded by international organizations. These include the impact evaluation of a three-year project funded by the UN Women and implemented by The Mother-Child Education Foundation (AÇEV) to explore the impact of father-training programs on fathers’ attitudes about parenting and gender-based violence and another project “A Fair Start for Young Children in Turkish Rural Communities” with a focus on women’s empowerment funded by the UBS foundation and implemented by AÇEV.

With its decade-long expertise in the area of child care and gender, DA stands ready to support stakeholders in carrying out research on this topic. If you are interested in exploring different research ideas regarding this topic you can register your interest in the link below and we will reach out to you.


³. Ibid.

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