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Child Care Choices and Children's Cognitive Achievement: The Case of Single Mothers

  • Raquel Bernal
  • Michael P. Keane

We evaluate the effect of child care versus maternal time inputs on child cognitive development using single mothers from the NLSY79. To deal with nonrandom selection of children into child care, we exploit the exogenous variation in welfare policy rules facing single mothers. In particular, the 1996 welfare reform and earlier state-level policy changes generated substantial increases in their work/child care use. We construct a comprehensive set of welfare policy variables and use them as instruments to estimate child cognitive ability production functions. In our baseline specification, we estimate that a year of child care reduces child test scores by 2.1%.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/659343
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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/659343
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Labor Economics.

Volume (Year): 29 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 459 - 512

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/659343
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JOLE/

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  1. Raquel Bernal, 2008. "The Effect Of Maternal Employment And Child Care On Children'S Cognitive Development," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1173-1209, November.
  2. Sonalde Desai & P. Chase-Lansdale & Robert Michael, 1989. "Mother or Market? Effects of Maternal Employment on the Intellectual Ability of 4-Year-Old Children," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 26(4), pages 545-561, November.
  3. Currie, J. & Thomas, D., 1995. "Does Head Start make a Difference?," Papers 95-10, RAND - Reprint Series.
  4. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
  5. Francine D. Blau & Adam J. Grossberg, 1990. "Maternal Labor Supply and Children's Cognitive Development," NBER Working Papers 3536, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Connolly, Sara & Micklewright, John & Nickell, Stephen, 1992. "The Occupational Success of Young Men Who Left School at Sixteen," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 460-79, July.
  7. David M. Blau, 1999. "The Effect of Child Care Characteristics on Child Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(4), pages 786-822.
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