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Canadian evidence on ten years of universal preschool policies: The good and the bad

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  • Haeck, Catherine
  • Lefebvre, Pierre
  • Merrigan, Philip

Abstract

More than ten years ago, to increase mothers’ participation in the labour market and to enhance child development, the province of Québec implemented a $5 per day universal childcare policy. This paper provides a comprehensive review of the impact of the program over more than 10years after its implementation. A nonexperimental evaluation framework based on multiple pre- and posttreatment periods is used to estimate the policy effects. We find that the reform had important and lasting effects on the number of children aged 1–4years old attending childcare and the numbers of hours they spend in daycare. For children aged 5years old, we uncovered strong evidence that implementing full-day kindergarten alone was not enough to increase maternal labour force participation and weeks worked, but when combined with the low-fee daycare program it was, and these effects were also long lasting. Finally, our results on cognitive development suggest the reform did not improve school readiness and may even have had negative impacts on children from low-income families.

Suggested Citation

  • Haeck, Catherine & Lefebvre, Pierre & Merrigan, Philip, 2015. "Canadian evidence on ten years of universal preschool policies: The good and the bad," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 137-157.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:36:y:2015:i:c:p:137-157
    DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2015.05.002
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Childcare policy; Mother’s labour supply; Preschool children and school readiness; Treatment effects; Natural experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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