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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. J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), 2007. "Handbook of Econometrics," Handbook of Econometrics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 6, number 6b, January.
  2. Berlinski, Samuel & Galiani, Sebastian & Gertler, Paul, 2009. "The effect of pre-primary education on primary school performance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 219-234, February.
  3. Tarjei Havnes & Magne Mogstad, 2009. "No Child Left Behind. Universal Child Care and Children’s Long-Run Outcomes," Discussion Papers 582, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  4. Gordon B. Dahl & Lance Lochner, 2010. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20105, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
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  6. 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.
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  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Magnuson, Katherine A. & Ruhm, Christopher & Waldfogel, Jane, 2007. "Does prekindergarten improve school preparation and performance?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 33-51, February.
  11. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman & Edward J. Vytlacil, 2011. "Estimating Marginal Returns to Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2754-81, October.
  12. Edward Vytlacil, 2002. "Independence, Monotonicity, and Latent Index Models: An Equivalence Result," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 331-341, January.
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  14. Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2015. "Maternity leave and children’s cognitive and behavioral development," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 373-391, April.
  15. Gordon B. Dahl & Lance Lochner, 2005. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement," NBER Working Papers 11279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. James J. Heckman & Edward J. Vytlacil, 2000. "Local Instrumental Variables," NBER Technical Working Papers 0252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2006. "Universal Childcare, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," Working Papers id:547, eSocialSciences.
  18. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Simonsen, Marianne, 2010. "Non-cognitive child outcomes and universal high quality child care," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 30-43, February.
  19. Blau, Francine D & Grossberg, Adam J, 1992. "Maternal Labor Supply and Children's Cognitive Development," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 474-81, August.
  20. 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.
  21. 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).
  22. Rasmussen, Astrid Würtz, 2010. "Increasing the length of parents' birth-related leave: The effect on children's long-term educational outcomes," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 91-100, January.
  23. 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.
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  25. 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.
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