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Impact of Early Childhood Care and Education on Children's Preschool Cognitive Development: Canadian Results from a Large Quasi-experiment

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Author Info

  • Pierre Lefebvre
  • Philip Merrigan
  • Matthieu Verstraete

Abstract

On September 1st 1997, a new early childhood care and education policy was initiated by the provincial government of Québec, the second most populous province in Canada. Providers of childcare services licensed by the Department of the Family began offering daycare spaces at the reduced parental contribution of $5 per day per child for children aged 4. In successive years, the government reduced the age requirement and engaged in a plan to create new childcare facilities and pay for the cost of additional $5 per day childcare spaces. By September 2000, the low-fee policy applied to all children aged 0 to 59 months and the number of partly subsidized spaces increased from 77,000 in 1998 to 170,000 spaces, totally subsidized, by midyear 2003. In addition, on September 1st 1997, all public schools offered full-day rather than part-day kindergarten for 5-year-old children. No such important policy changes for preschool (including kindergarten) children were enacted in the other Canadian provinces over the years 1994 to 2003. Using biennial data drawn from Statistics Canada’s National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY), conducted since 1994-1995, this study attempts to estimate the effect of the policy on Québec’s preschool children cognitive test scores. A non-experimental evaluation framework based on multiple pre- and post-treatment periods is used to estimate the effect of the early childhood care and education regime on school readiness. The econometric results support the hypothesis that the policy had no effects on the cognitive development of 4-year-olds (the PPVT-R raw scores and the PPVT-R standardized scores). However, we provide evidence that the policy had a substantial negative impact on the scores of 5-year-olds.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 0636.

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Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0636

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Postal: CP 8888, succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3P8
Phone: (514) 987-8161
Web page: http://www.cirpee.org/
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Related research

Keywords: preschool children; school readiness; childcare; kindergarten; treatment effects; natural experiment;

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References

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Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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  1. Katherine A. Magnuson & Christopher J. Ruhm & Jane Waldfogel, 2004. "Does Prekindergarten Improve School Preparation and Performance?," NBER Working Papers 10452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Angrist, Joshua D. & Krueger, Alan B., 1999. "Empirical strategies in labor economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 23, pages 1277-1366 Elsevier.
  4. Ermisch, John & Francesconi, Marco, 2000. "The effect of parents' employment on children's educational attainment," ISER Working Paper Series 2000-31, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  5. Francesconi, Marco & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2004. "The consequences of 'in-work' benefit reform in Britain: new evidence from panel data," ISER Working Paper Series 2004-13, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  6. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2005. "Low-fee ($5/day/child) Regulated Childcare Policy and the Labor Supply of Mothers with Young Children: a Natural Experiment from Canada," Cahiers de recherche 0508, CIRPEE.
  7. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," NBER Working Papers 7666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. David Blau, 2003. "Child Care Subsidy Programs," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 443-516 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2006. "Universal Childcare, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," Working Papers id:547, eSocialSciences.
  10. Pierre Merrigan & Philip Lefebvre, 2002. "The Effect of Childcare and Early Education Arrangements on Developmental Outcomes of Young Children," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 28(2), pages 159-185, June.
  11. Paul Gregg & Elizabeth Washbrook & Carol Propper & Simon Burgess, 2005. "The Effects of a Mother's Return to Work Decision on Child Development in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(501), pages F48-F80, 02.
  12. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Human Capital Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 821, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. William T. Gormley, Jr. & Ted Gayer, 2005. "Promoting School Readiness in Oklahoma: An Evaluation of Tulsa's Pre-K Program," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(3).
  14. Susanna Loeb & Margaret Bridges & Bruce Fuller & Russ Rumberger & Daphna Bassok, 2005. "How Much is Too Much? The Influence of Preschool Centers on Children's Social and Cognitive Development," NBER Working Papers 11812, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Jane Waldfogel & Wen-Jui Han & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2002. "The effects of early maternal employment on child cognitive development," Demography, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 369-392, May.
  16. Jane Waldfogel, 2002. "Child care, women's employment, and child outcomes," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 527-548.
  17. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2005. "The Québec’s Experiment of $5 per Day per Child Childcare Policy and Mother’s Labour Supply: Evidence Based on the Five Cycles of the NLSCY," CIRANO Project Reports 2005rp-21, CIRANO.
  18. David M. Blau, 1999. "The Effect of Child Care Characteristics on Child Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(4), pages 786-822.
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