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Is Universal Child Care Leveling the Playing Field?

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Author Info

  • Havnes, Tarjei

    ()
    (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)

  • Mogstad, Magne

    ()
    (Department of Economics)

Abstract

Many developed countries currently consider a move towards a universal child care program. The challenge in assessing the case for universal child care programs is that the evidence base is scarce. We analyze the staged expansion of subsidized, universally accessible child care in Norway. Our approach differs from existing literature which estimate mean impacts of universal child care programs; in contrast, we use non-linear difference-in-differences methods to estimate quantile treatment effects, showing how the child care expansion affected the earnings distribution of exposed children as adults. We complement these estimates with local linear regressions of the child care effects by family income. Our findings suggest that the effects of child care vary systematically across the earnings distribution, that the mean impact misses a lot, and that children of low income parents seem to be the primary beneficiaries of subsidized child care. These findings are important when considering the case for universal child care programs, since the benefits of providing subsidized child care to middle and upper-class children are unlikely to exceed the costs. To help understand the differential effects on earnings, we examine how the child care expansion affected the educational trajectories and cognitive test scores of the exposed children.

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File URL: https://www.sv.uio.no/econ/english/research/unpublished-works/working-papers/pdf-files/2012/memo-31-2012.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Oslo University, Department of Economics in its series Memorandum with number 31/2012.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 22 Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2012_031

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Economics, University of Oslo, P.O Box 1095 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway
Phone: 22 85 51 27
Fax: 22 85 50 35
Email:
Web page: http://www.oekonomi.uio.no/indexe.html
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Related research

Keywords: universal child care; child development; non-linear difference-in-differences; heterogeneity; quantile treatment effects;

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References

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  1. Black, Sandra & Devereux, Paul J. & Løken, Katrine & Salvanes, Kjell G, 2012. "Care or Cash? The Effect of Child Care Subsidies on Student Performance," CEPR Discussion Papers 8981, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Lundin, Daniela & Mörk, Eva & Öckert, Björn, 2008. "How far can reduced childcare prices push female labour supply?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 647-659, August.
  3. Susan Athey & Guido Imbens, 2003. "Identification and Inference in Nonlinear Difference-in-Differences Models," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000079, David K. Levine.
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  6. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Simonsen, Marianne, 2010. "Non-cognitive child outcomes and universal high quality child care," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 30-43, February.
  7. Sergio Firpo, 2004. "Efficient Semiparametric Estimation of Quantile Treatment Effects," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 605, Econometric Society.
  8. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," NBER Working Papers 12006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet, 2011. "Human Capital Development before Age Five," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
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  12. Baker, Michael, 2011. "Universal Early Childhood Interventions: What is the Evidence Base?," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2011-29, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 28 Nov 2011.
  13. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2008. "Universal Child Care, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 709-745, 08.
  14. Herbst, Chris M. & Tekin, Erdal, 2010. "Child care subsidies and child development," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 618-638, August.
  15. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan & Matthieu Verstraete, 2008. "Childcare Policy and Cognitive Outcomes of Children: Results from a Large Scale Quasi-Experiment on Universal Childcare in Canada," Cahiers de recherche 0823, CIRPEE.
  16. Esther Duflo, 2000. "Schooling and Labor Market Consequences of School Construction in Indonesia: Evidence from an Unusual Policy Experiment," NBER Working Papers 7860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Michael Baker, 2011. "Innis Lecture: Universal early childhood interventions: what is the evidence base?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1069-1105, November.
  18. Elizabeth U. Cascio, 2009. "Maternal Labor Supply and the Introduction of Kindergartens into American Public Schools," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(1).
  19. Samuel Berlinski & Sebastian Galiani & Paul Gertler, 2006. "The Effect of Pre-Primary Education on Primary School Performance," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp838, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Ylenia Brilli, 2012. "Public and parental investments in children. Evidence from the literature on non-parental child care," CHILD Working Papers Series 6, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA.
  2. Kottelenberg, Michael J. & Lehrer, Steven F., 2014. "Do the Perils of Universal Child Care Depend on the Child's Age?," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2014-14, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 26 Mar 2014.
  3. Battistin, Erich & Meroni, Elena Claudia, 2013. "Should We Increase Instruction Time in Low Achieving Schools? Evidence from Southern Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 7437, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Drange, Nina & Havnes, Tarjei & Sandsør, Astrid M. J., 2012. "Kindergarten for All: Long Run Effects of a Universal Intervention," IZA Discussion Papers 6986, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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