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Childcare Policy and Cognitive Outcomes of Children: Results from a Large Scale Quasi-Experiment on Universal Childcare in Canada

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Author Info

  • Pierre Lefebvre
  • Philip Merrigan
  • Matthieu Verstraete

Abstract

Effects of a low-fee universal childcare policy, initiated in Québec, the second most populous province in Canada, on the cognitive development of preschool children are estimated with a sample of 4- and 5-year-olds (N=8,875; N=17,154). In 1997, licensed and regulated providers of childcare services began offering daycare spaces at the reduced fee of $5 per day per child for children aged 4. By 2000, the low-fee policy applied to all children aged 0 to 59 months (not in kindergarten). The study uses 6 cycles of biennial data drawn from Statistics Canada's National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (1994-2004) and quasi-experimental estimation methods to provide evidence that the policy had substantial negative effects on preschool children's Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test scores. The negative effects are found to be stronger for children with mothers who have lower levels of education.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 0823.

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Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0823

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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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  1. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan & Matthieu Verstraete, 2008. "Dynamic Labour Supply Effects of Childcare Subsidies: Evidence from a Canadian Natural Experiment on Low-Fee Universal Child Care," Cahiers de recherche, CIRPEE 0824, CIRPEE.
  2. repec:ese:iserwp:2004-13 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Stephen G. Donald & Kevin Lang, 2007. "Inference with Difference-in-Differences and Other Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 221-233, May.
  4. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Human Capital Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 821, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Jane Waldfogel & Wen-Jui Han & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2002. "The effects of early maternal employment on child cognitive development," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 369-392, May.
  6. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2008. "Child-Care Policy and the Labor Supply of Mothers with Young Children: A Natural Experiment from Canada," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 519-548, 07.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. David M. Blau, 2000. "Child Care Subsidy Programs," NBER Working Papers 7806, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Magnuson, Katherine A. & Ruhm, Christopher & Waldfogel, Jane, 2007. "Does prekindergarten improve school preparation and performance?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 33-51, February.
  11. 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, CIRPEE 0508, CIRPEE.
  12. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2004. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  13. 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, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(501), pages F48-F80, 02.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2006. "Universal Childcare, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," Working Papers id:547, eSocialSciences.
  17. Angrist, Joshua D. & Krueger, Alan B., 1999. "Empirical strategies in labor economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 23, pages 1277-1366 Elsevier.
  18. Francesconi, Marco & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2004. "The Consequences of ‘In-Work’ Benefit Reform in Britain: New Evidence from Panel Data," IZA Discussion Papers 1248, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. 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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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Tarjei Havnes & Magne Mogstad, 2014. "Is universal child care leveling the playing field?," Discussion Papers, Research Department of Statistics Norway 774, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  2. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan & Francis Roy-Desrosiers, 2011. "Québec's Childcare Universal Low Fees Policy 10 Years After: Effects, Costs and Benefits," Cahiers de recherche, CIRPEE 1101, CIRPEE.
  3. Michael Baker & Kevin S. Milligan, 2011. "Maternity Leave and Children’s Cognitive and Behavioral Development," NBER Working Papers 17105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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