In the past two or three decades, China’s fertility rate has been below the replacement level and declining. The problem of low fertility rate is likely to affect economic vitality, national competitiveness, and the operation of social security system, and even threaten national security. In view of this, the
The rising cost of parenting is considered to be an important factor for the decline in fertility, and the key of the cost lies in the work-childrearing conflicts caused by caring for children in families. In view of this, how to alleviate the conflicts, reduce the cost of parenting, and improve fertility has increasingly become a common concern of the whole society. The
With the employment of the quasi-natural experiment of the policy of “establishing kindergartens by social forces” in 2003, this paper matches
Further, the fertility effect of the policy is heterogeneous among families. For families with higher conflicts, such as families with higher education, families with more distant between family members, or families with long working hours, the positive fertility effect of the policy is greater. Moreover, the positive impact of this policy on fertility is relatively higher in areas with larger road pavement. This may be because better road paving conditions can compress the time and space distance, improve the accessibility of kindergartens, and then reduce the conflicts to a large extend.
On the one hand, this paper makes up for the relative deficiency of domestic literature on the fertility effect of the expansion of kindergarten supply; on the other hand, kindergarten education and childcare services for children aged 0-3 have the same function in terms of alleviating the conflicts. In fact, this paper also provides empirical evidence for China to develop inclusive childcare service system to improve fertility. The policy suggestions are that: Firstly, increase the supply of kindergartens to ensure the nearby admission. Secondly, reduce the time and space distance between families and kindergartens, effectively shorten the time cost of approaching and using kindergarten services, and improve the accessibility of kindergartens.