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The Geographic Accessibility of Child Care Subsidies and Evidence on the Impact of Subsidy Receipt on Childhood Obesity

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  • Chris M. Herbst
  • Erdal Tekin

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of the spatial accessibility of public human services agencies on the likelihood of receiving a child care subsidy among disadvantaged mothers with young children. In particular, we collect data on the location of virtually every human services agency in the U.S. and use this information to calculate the approximate distance that families must travel from home in order to reach the nearest office that administers the subsidy application process. Using data from the Kindergarten cohort of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS-K), our results indicate that an increase in the distance to a public human services agency reduces the likelihood that a family receives a child care subsidy. Specifically, we estimate an elasticity of subsidy receipt with respect to distance of -0.13. The final section of the paper provides an empirical application in which we use variation in families’ travel distance to identify the causal effect of child care subsidies on children’s weight outcomes. Our instrumental variables estimates suggest that subsidized child care leads to sizeable increases in the prevalence of overweight and obesity among low-income children.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17471.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Publication status: published as Herbst, Chris M. & Tekin, Erdal, 2012. "The geographic accessibility of child care subsidies and evidence on the impact of subsidy receipt on childhood obesity," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 37-52.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17471

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Herbst, Chris M., 2013. "The impact of non-parental child care on child development: Evidence from the summer participation “dip”," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 86-105.
  2. Herbst, Chris M. & Tekin, Erdal, 2011. "The Geographic Accessibility of Child Care Subsidies and Evidence on the Impact of Subsidy Receipt on Childhood Obesity," IZA Discussion Papers 6025, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Herbst, Chris M., 2013. "Universal Child Care, Maternal Employment, and Children's Long-Run Outcomes: Evidence from the U.S. Lanham Act of 1940," IZA Discussion Papers 7846, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Herbst, Chris M. & Tekin, Erdal, 2012. "Child Care Subsidies, Maternal Well-Being, and Child-Parent Interactions: Evidence from Three Nationally Representative Datasets," IZA Discussion Papers 6306, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Johnson, Anna D. & Herbst, Chris M., 2013. "Can we trust parental reports of child care subsidy receipt?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 984-993.
  6. Herbst, Chris M., 2012. "The Impact of Non-Parental Child Care on Child Development: Evidence from the Summer Participation "Dip"," IZA Discussion Papers 7039, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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