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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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    6. Tania Barham & Karen Macours & John A. Maluccio, 2013. "Boys' Cognitive Skill Formation and Physical Growth: Long-Term Experimental Evidence on Critical Ages for Early Childhood Interventions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 467-471, May.
    7. Berlinski, Samuel & Galiani, Sebastian & Manacorda, Marco, 2008. "Giving children a better start: Preschool attendance and school-age profiles," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1416-1440, June.
    8. Norbert Schady & Jere Behrman & Maria Caridad Araujo & Rodrigo Azuero & Raquel Bernal & David Bravo & Florencia Lopez-Boo & Karen Macours & Daniela Marshall & Christina Paxson & Renos Vakis, 2015. "Wealth Gradients in Early Childhood Cognitive Development in Five Latin American Countries," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(2), pages 446-463.
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    11. Tania Barham & Karen Macours & John A. Maluccio, 2013. "Boys' Cognitive Skill Formation and Physical Growth: Long-Term Experimental Evidence on Critical Ages for Early Childhood Interventions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 467-471, May.
    12. Norbert Schady & Jere Behrman & Maria Caridad Araujo & Rodrigo Azuero & Raquel Bernal & David Bravo & Florencia Lopez-Boo & Karen Macours & Daniela Marshall & Christina Paxson & Renos Vakis, 2015. "Wealth Gradients in Early Childhood Cognitive Development in Five Latin American Countries," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(2), pages 446-463.
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    16. repec:idb:brikps:publication-detail,7101.html?id=32886 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. 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. Holla,Alaka & Bendini,Maria Magdalena & Dinarte Diaz,Lelys Ileana & Trako,Iva, 2021. "Is Investment in Preprimary Education Too Low ? Lessons from (Quasi) ExperimentalEvidence across Countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9723, The World Bank.
    2. 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).
    3. Barrera,Oscar & Macours,Karen & Premand,Patrick & Vakis,Renos, 2020. "Texting Parents about Early Child Development : Behavioral Changes and Unintended Social Effects," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9492, The World Bank.
    4. Premand, Patrick & Barry, Oumar, 2022. "Behavioral change promotion, cash transfers and early childhood development: Experimental evidence from a government program in a low-income setting," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C).
    5. Kim, Janice H., 2022. "Preschool participation and students’ learning outcomes in primary school: Evidence from national reform of pre-primary education in Ethiopia," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 94(C).

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