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Does Quebec’s subsidized child care policy give boys and girls an equal start?

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  • Michael J. Kottelenberg
  • Steven F. Lehrer

Abstract

Although an increasing body of research promotes the development of universal early education and care programs, little is known about the extent to which these programs affect gender gaps in academic achievement and other developmental outcomes. Analyzing the introduction of universal highly‐subsidized child care in Quebec, we first demonstrate that there are no statistically significant gender differences in the average effect of access to universal child care on child outcomes. However, we find substantial heterogeneity in policy impacts on the variance of developmental and behavioural scores across genders. Additionally, our analysis reveals significant evidence of differential parenting practices by gender in response to the introduction of the policy. The analysis is suggestive that the availability of subsidized child care changed home environments disproportionately and may be responsible for the growing gender gaps in behavioural outcomes observed after child care is subsidized. Résumé Est‐ce que la politique de garderies subventionnées du Québec donne aux garçons et aux filles un avantage de départ égal? Même si un corpus de recherches croissant promeut le développement de programmes universels de garderies et d’éducation préscolaire, on connaît peu de choses sur la nature de l’impact de ces programmes sur les écarts dans la réussite académique et dans les résultats comportementaux entre genres. Analysant l’introduction du programme universel fortement subventionné de garderies au Québec, on montre qu’il n’y a pas de différences statistiquement significatives entre genres dans l’effet moyen de l’accès au programme universel d’éducation préscolaire sur les résultats pour l’enfant. Cependant, on découvre une hétérogénéité substantielle entre genres dans les impacts de la politique sur la variance des scores pour ce qui est du développement et du comportement. De plus, l’analyse révèle des résultats significatifs en termes de pratiques parentales différenciées entre genres en réponse à l’introduction de la politique. L’analyse suggère que la disponibilité de l’éducation préscolaire subventionnée modifie de façon disproportionnée l’environnement à la maison, et peut être responsable pour l’écart croissant entre genres dans les résultats comportementaux observés après l’introduction de l’éducation préscolaire subventionnée.

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  • Michael J. Kottelenberg & Steven F. Lehrer, 2018. "Does Quebec’s subsidized child care policy give boys and girls an equal start?," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 51(2), pages 627-659, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:canjec:v:51:y:2018:i:2:p:627-659
    DOI: 10.1111/caje.12333
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    Cited by:

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    3. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Siflinger, Bettina M., 2022. "The effects of a daycare reform on health in childhood – Evidence from Sweden," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).
    4. LEBIHAN, Laetitia & MAO TAKONGMO, Charles Olivier, 2019. "The Effect of Paid Parental Leave on Breastfeeding, Parental Health and Behavior," MPRA Paper 95719, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    JEL classification:

    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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