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New Evidence on the Impacts of Access to and Attending Universal Child-Care in Canada

Listed author(s):
  • Michael J. Kottelenberg
  • Steven F. Lehrer

In Canada, advocates of universal child-care often point to policies implemented in Quebec as providing a model for early education and care policies in other provinces. While these policies have proven to be highly popular among citizens, initial evaluations of access to these programs indicated they led to a multitude of undesirable child developmental, health, and family outcomes. These research findings ignited substantial controversy and criticism. In this study, we show the robustness of the initial analyses to 1) concerns over whether negative outcomes would vanish over time as suppliers gained experience providing child-care; 2)concerns regarding multiple testing; and 3) concerns that the original estimates measured the causal impact of child-care availability and not child-care attendance. A notable exception is that despite estimated effects stemming from the policy indicating declines in motor-social development scores in Quebec relative to the rest of Canada, our analyses imply that on average attending child-care in Canada leads to a significant increase in this test score. However, our analysis reveals substantial heterogeneity in program impacts that occur in response to the Quebec policies and indicates that most of the negative impacts reported in earlier research are driven by children from families who only attended child-care in response to the implementation of this policy.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3138/CPP.39.2.263
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Article provided by University of Toronto Press in its journal Canadian Public Policy.

Volume (Year): 39 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 263-286

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Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:39:y:2013:i:2:p:263-286
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