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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File URL: https://www.sv.uio.no/econ/english/research/unpublished-works/working-papers/pdf-files/2012/memo-31-2012.pdf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. 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.
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  9. 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.
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  13. Jonah B. Gelbach, 2002. "Public Schooling for Young Children and Maternal Labor Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 307-322, March.
  14. 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.
  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, CIRPEE 0823, CIRPEE.
  16. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2006. "Universal Childcare, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," Working Papers id:547, eSocialSciences.
  17. Sergio Firpo, 2004. "Efficient Semiparametric Estimation of Quantile Treatment Effects," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 605, Econometric Society.
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  21. Tarjei Havnes & Magne Mogstad, 2011. "No Child Left Behind: Subsidized Child Care and Children's Long-Run Outcomes," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 97-129, May.
  22. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Ylenia Brilli, 2012. "Public and parental investments in children. Evidence from the literature on non-parental child care," CHILD Working Papers Series, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA 6, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA.
  3. Nina Drange & Tarjei Havnes, 2012. "Kindergarten for all: Long run effects of a universal intervention," Discussion Papers, Research Department of Statistics Norway 695, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  4. 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).

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