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Early Child Care and Child Development: For Whom It Works and Why

  • Christina Felfe
  • Rafael Lalive

Many countries are currently expanding access to child care for young children. But are all children equally likely to benefit from such expansions? We address this question by adopting a marginal treatment effects framework. We study the West German setting where high quality center-based care is severely rationed and use within state differences in child care supply as exogenous variation in child care attendance. Data from the German Socio-Economic Panel provides comprehensive information on child development measures along with detailed information on child care, mother-child interactions, and maternal labor supply. Results indicate strong differences in the effects of child care with respect to observed characteristics (children's age, birth weight and socio-economic background), but less so with respect to unobserved determinants of selection into child care. Underlying mechanisms are a substitution of maternal care with center-based care, an increase in average quality of maternal care, and an increase in maternal earnings.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.415684.de/diw_sp0536.pdf
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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 536.

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Length: 45 p.
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp536
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  1. Pedro Carneiro & James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2010. "Estimating marginal returns to education," CeMMAP working papers CWP29/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Samuel Berlinski & Sebastian Galiani & Paul Gertler, 2006. "The effect of pre-primary education on primary school performance," IFS Working Papers W06/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. Felfe, Christina & Nollenberger, Natalia & Rodríguez-Planas, Núria, 2012. "Can't Buy Mommy's Love? Universal Childcare and Children's Long-Term Cognitive Development," IZA Discussion Papers 7053, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Elizabeth U. Cascio, 2009. "Do Investments in Universal Early Education Pay Off? Long-term Effects of Introducing Kindergartens into Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 14951, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Black, Sandra E. & Devereux, Paul J. & Løken, Katrine V. & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2012. "Care Or Cash? The Effect Of Child Care Subsidies On Student Performance," Working Papers in Economics 09/12, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  6. Carneiro, Pedro & Løken, Katrine Vellesen & Salvanes, Kjell Gunnar, 2010. "A Flying Start? Long Term Consequences of Maternal Time Investments in Children During Their First Year of Life," Working Papers in Economics 06/10, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  7. Havnes, Tarjei & Mogstad, Magne, 2009. "No Child Left Behind: Universal Child Care and Children's Long-Run Outcomes," Memorandum 23/2009, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  8. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Simonsen, Marianne, 2007. "Non-Cognitive Child Outcomes and Universal High Quality Child Care," IZA Discussion Papers 3188, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2005. "Universal Childcare, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 11832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Libertad González Luna, 2011. "The effects of a universal child benefit," Economics Working Papers 1281, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  12. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
  13. Katherine A. Magnuson & Christopher J. Ruhm & Jane Waldfogel, 2004. "Does Prekindergarten Improve School Preparation and Performance?," NBER Working Papers 10452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Fitzpatrick Maria D, 2008. "Starting School at Four: The Effect of Universal Pre-Kindergarten on Children's Academic Achievement," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-40, November.
  15. Edward Vytlacil, 2002. "Independence, Monotonicity, and Latent Index Models: An Equivalence Result," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 331-341, January.
  16. Charles L. Baum II, 2003. "Does Early Maternal Employment Harm Child Development? An Analysis of the Potential Benefits of Leave Taking," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 381-408, April.
  17. Gordon B. Dahl & Lance Lochner, 2005. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement," NBER Working Papers 11279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. James J. Heckman & Edward J. Vytlacil, 2000. "Local Instrumental Variables," NBER Technical Working Papers 0252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  20. Heckman, James J. & Masterov, Dimitriy V., 2007. "The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children," IZA Discussion Papers 2725, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. Michael Baker & Kevin S. Milligan, 2011. "Maternity Leave and Children's Cognitive and Behavioral Development," NBER Working Papers 17105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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