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Preschool and Parental Response in a Second Best World: Evidence from a School Construction Experiment

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  • Adrien Bouguen
  • Deon Filmer
  • Karen Macours
  • Sophie Naudeau

Abstract

Interventions targeting early childhood hold promise for reducing the intergenerational transmission of poverty. Results from a randomized evaluation of a preschool construction program in Cambodia suggest caution. Overall impacts on early childhood outcomes are small and insignificant. Impacts on cognition are negative for the cohort with highest program exposure, with the largest negative effects among children of poorer and less educated parents. The results are explained by substitution from primary to preschool and differences in demand responses to preschools between more and less educated parents. Context, program specifics, and behavioral responses can hence lead to perverse effects of well-intentioned interventions.

Suggested Citation

  • Adrien Bouguen & Deon Filmer & Karen Macours & Sophie Naudeau, 2018. "Preschool and Parental Response in a Second Best World: Evidence from a School Construction Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 53(2), pages 474-512.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:53:y:2018:i:2:p:474-512
    Note: DOI: 10.3368/jhr.53.2.1215-7581R1
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    1. Karen Macours & Norbert Schady & Renos Vakis, 2012. "Cash Transfers, Behavioral Changes, and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 247-273, April.
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    1. Bietenbeck, Jan & Ericsson, Sanna & Wamalwa, Fredrick M., 2019. "Preschool attendance, schooling, and cognitive skills in East Africa," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 73(C).

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