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The impact of a vocational education program for childcare providers on children's well-being


  • Bernal, Raquel


The early childhood community-based program Hogares Comunitarios de Bienestar serves 800,000 low-income children under the age of 5 in Colombia. Earlier studies have identified care providers (madres comunitarias) as having, on average, low education levels and not being appropriately trained for the provision of childcare services. In 2007, a vocational education program was introduced which offers a degree in child development and care for childcare providers. In this paper we assess the effects of this program on the quality of care provided in the relevant nurseries and on the nutritional and health status, as well as cognitive and socio-emotional development of beneficiary children in Bogotá. This evaluation takes advantage of the gradual geographic expansion of the program in order to estimate treatment effects. Results indicate that the quality of care has significantly increased in these family-based nurseries and that the program has thus had a positive and significant effect on the health, cognitive and socio-emotional development of beneficiary children, especially those younger than 3 years of age.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernal, Raquel, 2015. "The impact of a vocational education program for childcare providers on children's well-being," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 165-183.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:48:y:2015:i:c:p:165-183
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2015.07.003

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dara N. Lee, 2012. "The Impact of Childhood Health on Adult Educational Attainment: Evidence from Modern Mandatory School Vaccination Laws," Working Papers 1202, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 29 Oct 2012.
    2. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
    3. Jeffrey R Kling & Jeffrey B Liebman & Lawrence F Katz, 2007. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 83-119, January.
    4. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
    5. Jere R. Behrman & Yingmei Cheng & Petra E. Todd, 2004. "Evaluating Preschool Programs When Length of Exposure to the Program Varies: A Nonparametric Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 108-132, February.
    6. Milagros Nores & Steven W. Barnett, 2012. "Benefits of Early Childhood Interventions Across the World: (Under) Investing in the Very Young," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 1, pages 200-228.
    7. Bernal, Raquel & Fernández, Camila, 2013. "Subsidized childcare and child development in Colombia: Effects of Hogares Comunitarios de Bienestar as a function of timing and length of exposure," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 241-249.
    8. Alderman, Harold, et al, 1996. "The Returns to Endogenous Human Capital in Pakistan's Rural Wage Labour Market," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(1), pages 29-55, February.
    9. repec:mpr:mprres:7835 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Blimpo, Moussa P. & Carneiro, Pedro & Jervis, Pamela & Pugatch, Todd, 2019. "Improving Access and Quality in Early Childhood Development Programs: Experimental Evidence from The Gambia," GLO Discussion Paper Series 318, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    2. Orazio Attanasio & Helen Baker-Henningham & Raquel Bernal & Costas Meghir & Diana Pineda & Marta Rubio-Codina, 2018. "Early Stimulation and Nutrition: The Impacts of a Scalable Intervention," Working Papers 2018-073, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    3. repec:eee:wdevel:v:118:y:2019:i:c:p:91-105 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:uwp:jhriss:v:54:y:2019:i:3:p:656-682 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:bdr:bdrcap:2019-04-51-94 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. M. Caridad Araujo & Marta Dormal & Norbert Schady, 2019. "Childcare Quality and Child Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 54(3), pages 656-682.
    7. Raquel Bernal & Sara María Ramírez, 2018. "Improving childcare quality at scale: the effects of “From Zero to Forever”," Documentos CEDE 016600, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE.
    8. Milagros Nores & Raquel Bernal & W. Steve Barnett, 2018. "Center-Based Care for Infants and Toddlers: The aeioTU Randomized Trial," Documentos CEDE 016855, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE.
    9. Milagros Nores & Camila Fernandez, "undated". "Building Capacity in Health and Education Systems to Deliver Interventions that Strengthen Early Child Development," Mathematica Policy Research Reports bc89241b99d142d38ccd496bd, Mathematica Policy Research.

    More about this item


    Economic impact; Early childhood; Vocational education;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate


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