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Preschoolers Enrolled and Mothers at Work? The Effects of Universal Pre-Kindergarten

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  • Maria Fitzpatrick

Abstract

Three states (Georgia, Oklahoma and Florida) recently introduced Universal Pre- Kindergarten (Universal Pre-K) programs offering free preschool to all age-eligible children, and policy makers in many other states are promoting similar policies. How do such policies affect the participation of children in preschool programs (or do they merely substitute for preschool offered by the market)? Does the implicit child care subsidy afforded by Universal Pre-K change maternal labor supply? I present a model that includes preferences for child quality and shows the directions of change in preschool enrollment and maternal labor supply in response to Universal Pre-K programs are theoretically ambiguous. Using restricted-access data from the Census, together with year and birthday based eligibility cutoffs, I employ a regression discontinuity framework to estimate the effects of Universal Pre-K availability. Universal Pre-K availability increases preschool enrollment by 12 to 15 percent, with the largest effect on children of women with less than a Bachelor’s Degree. Universal Pre-K availability has little effect on the labor supply of most women. However, women residing in rural areas in Georgia increase their children’s preschool enrollment and their own employment by 22 and 20 percent, respectively, when Universal Pre-K is available.

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File URL: ftp://ftp2.census.gov/ces/wp/2008/CES-WP-08-04.pdf
File Function: First version, 2008
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 08-04.

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Length: 61 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:08-04

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Keywords: Preschool; Public Subsidies; Maternal Labor Supply;

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References

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  1. Patricia M. Anderson & Philip B. Levine, 1999. "Child Care and Mothers' Employment Decisions," NBER Working Papers 7058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2007. "Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980–2000," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 393-438.
  3. David Blau & Erdal Tekin, 2003. "The Determinants and Consequences of Child Care Subsidies for Single Mothers," NBER Working Papers 9665, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Fitzpatrick Maria D, 2008. "Starting School at Four: The Effect of Universal Pre-Kindergarten on Children's Academic Achievement," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-40, November.
  5. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2005. "Universal Childcare, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 11832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Clive R Belfield & Milagros Nores & Steve Barnett & Lawrence Schweinhart, 2006. "The High/Scope Perry Preschool Program: Cost–Benefit Analysis Using Data from the Age-40 Followup," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(1).
  7. Justin McCrary & Heather Royer, 2006. "The Effect of Female Education on Fertility and Infant Health: Evidence from School Entry Policies Using Exact Date of Birth," NBER Working Papers 12329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Elizabeth U. Cascio, 2009. "Do Investments in Universal Early Education Pay Off? Long-term Effects of Introducing Kindergartens into Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 14951, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
  10. Susan Dynarski, 2005. "Building the Stock of College-Educated Labor," NBER Working Papers 11604, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Dynarski, Susan, 2000. "Hope for Whom? Financial Aid for the Middle Class and Its Impact on College Attendance," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 3), pages 629-62, September.
  12. Charles Michalopoulos & Philip K. Robins & Irwin Garfinkel, 1992. "A Structural Model of Labor Supply and Child Care Demand," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(1), pages 166-203.
  13. Justin McCrary, 2007. "Manipulation of the Running Variable in the Regression Discontinuity Design: A Density Test," NBER Technical Working Papers 0334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Susan Dynarski, 2000. "Hope for Whom? Financial Aid for the Middle Class and Its Impact on College Attendance," NBER Working Papers 7756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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