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Centre-based versus home-based childcare

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  • Bauchmüller, Robert

    ()
    (UNU-MERIT / MGSoG, Maastricht University)

Abstract

Centre-based childcare is seen as a public investment to facilitate maternal employment. Recent theoretical research proposes that such investments potentially lead to substantial gains in child development and thus to high returns for society as a whole. However, the empirical evidence is still scarce and often contradictory. This study is based on rich survey data of a large-scale cohort study of children living in the Netherlands at the beginning of the new millennium. The Netherlands has made substantial investments in the last two decades to make the market of centre-based provisions more professional and far-reaching and to improve children's school readiness. I study the impact of experiencing centre- rather than home-based childcare on language, cognitive and non-cognitive development, assessed at the age of 6. To assess whether very long or intensive childcare spells can be harmful, I account for possible non-linearity in the correlation between the centre-based childcare experience and the child outcomes. As sensitivity analyses, I also apply instrumental variable and structural equation modelling approaches to try to correct for potential biases in my estimates that would result, for example, from unobserved heterogeneity of parents and children. For both ordinary least square estimates as well as the sensitivity analyses the results do not support the significant short-term effects of centre-based childcare stated in the literature.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) in its series MERIT Working Papers with number 026.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2013026

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Keywords: centre-based childcare; non/cognitive and language development; school readiness; non-linear effects; parental choice;

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  1. James J. Heckman, 2008. "Schools, Skills, And Synapses," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(3), pages 289-324, 07.
  2. 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.
  3. Bernal, Raquel & Keane, Michael P., 2010. "Quasi-structural estimation of a model of childcare choices and child cognitive ability production," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 164-189, May.
  4. Brilli, Ylenia & Del Boca, Daniela & Pronzato, Chiara D., 2011. "Exploring the Impacts of Public Childcare on Mothers and Children in Italy: Does Rationing Play a Role?," IZA Discussion Papers 5918, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Maria del Carmen Huerta & Willem Adema & Jennifer Baxter & Miles Corak & Mette Deding & Matthew C. Gray & Wen-Jui Han & Jane Waldfogel, 2011. "Early Maternal Employment and Child Development in Five OECD Countries," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 118, OECD Publishing.
  6. Ermisch, John F, 1989. "Purchased Child Care, Optimal Family Size and Mother's Employment: Theory and Econometric Analysis," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 79-102.
  7. James Heckman & Anne Layne-Farrar & Petra Todd, 1995. "Does Measured School Quality Really Matter? An Examination of the Earnings-Quality Relationship," NBER Working Papers 5274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. J. A. Hausman, 1976. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Working papers, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics 185, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Marianne Simonsen, 2007. "Non-cognitive Child Outcomes and Universal High Quality Child Care," Economics Working Papers, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus 2007-17, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  10. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
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