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Child care and school performance in Denmark and the United States

  • Esping-Andersen, Gosta
  • Garfinkel, Irwin
  • Han, Wen-Jui
  • Magnuson, Katherine
  • Wagner, Sander
  • Waldfogel, Jane
Registered author(s):

    Child care and early education policies may not only raise average achievement but may also be of special benefit for less advantaged children, in particular if programs are high quality. We test whether high quality child care is equalizing using rich longitudinal data from two comparison countries, Denmark and the United States. In Denmark, we find that enrollment in high-quality formal care at age 3 is associated with higher cognitive scores at age 11. Moreover, the findings suggest stronger effects for the lowest-income children and for children at the bottom of the test score distribution. In the U.S. case, results are different. We find that enrollment in school or center based care is associated with higher cognitive scores at school entry, but the beneficial effects erode by age 11, particularly for disadvantaged children. Thus, the U.S. results do not point to larger and more lasting effects for disadvantaged children. This may be because low income children attend poorer quality care and subsequently attend lower quality schools.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740911003756
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Children and Youth Services Review.

    Volume (Year): 34 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 576-589

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:34:y:2012:i:3:p:576-589
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/childyouth

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    1. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2006. "Universal Childcare, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," Working Papers id:547, eSocialSciences.
    2. Ploug, Niels, 2012. "The Nordic child care regime — History, development and challenges," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 517-522.
    3. 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.
    4. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro, 2003. "Human Capital Policy," NBER Working Papers 9495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Sheila B. Kamerman & Michelle Neuman & Jane Waldfogel & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2003. "Social Policies, Family Types and Child Outcomes in Selected OECD Countries," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 6, OECD Publishing.
    6. 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.
    7. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Simonsen, Marianne, 2010. "Non-cognitive child outcomes and universal high quality child care," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 30-43, February.
    8. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Simonsen, Marianne, 2011. "Where to Put the Kids? Effects of Type of Non-parental Child Care on Pre-teen Skills and Risky Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 5848, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Garfinkel, Irwin & Rainwater, Lee & Smeeding, Timothy, 2010. "Wealth and Welfare States: Is America a Laggard or Leader?," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199579310, March.
    10. Vivian C. Wong & Thomas D. Cook & W. Steven Barnett & Kwanghee Jung, 2008. "An effectiveness-based evaluation of five state pre-kindergarten programs," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(1), pages 122-154.
    11. Havnes, Tarjei & Mogstad, Magne, 2010. "Is Universal Child Care Leveling the Playing Field? Evidence from Non-Linear Difference-in-Differences," IZA Discussion Papers 4978, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Jane Waldfogel, 2006. "What do children need?," Public Policy Review, Institute for Public Policy Research, vol. 13(1), pages 26-34.
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