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Who Benefits from Universal Child Care? Estimating Marginal Returns to Early Child Care Attendance

Author

Listed:
  • Cornelissen, Thomas

    () (University of York)

  • Dustmann, Christian

    () (University College London)

  • Raute, Anna

    () (University of Mannheim)

  • Schönberg, Uta

    () (University College London)

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the heterogeneous treatment effects of a universal child care (preschool) program in Germany by exploiting the exogenous variation in attendance caused by a reform that led to a large staggered expansion across municipalities. Drawing on novel administrative data from the full population of compulsory school entry examinations, we find that children with lower (observed and unobserved) gains are more likely to select into child care than children with higher gains. This pattern of reverse selection on gains is driven by unobserved family background characteristics: children from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to attend child care than children from advantaged backgrounds but have larger treatment effects because of their worse outcome when not enrolled in child care.

Suggested Citation

  • Cornelissen, Thomas & Dustmann, Christian & Raute, Anna & Schönberg, Uta, 2018. "Who Benefits from Universal Child Care? Estimating Marginal Returns to Early Child Care Attendance," IZA Discussion Papers 11688, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11688
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James Heckman & Seong Hyeok Moon & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter Savelyev & Adam Yavitz, 2010. "Analyzing social experiments as implemented: A reexamination of the evidence from the HighScope Perry Preschool Program," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(1), pages 1-46, July.
    2. Heckman, James J. & Moon, Seong Hyeok & Pinto, Rodrigo & Savelyev, Peter A. & Yavitz, Adam, 2010. "The rate of return to the HighScope Perry Preschool Program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 114-128, February.
    3. Cornelissen, Thomas & Dustmann, Christian & Raute, Anna & Schönberg, Uta, 2016. "From LATE to MTE: Alternative methods for the evaluation of policy interventions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 47-60.
    4. Pia S. Schober & Juliane F. Stahl, 2014. "Trends in der Kinderbetreuung: sozioökonomische Unterschiede verstärken sich in Ost und West," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 81(40), pages 986-994.
    5. Sandner, Malte & Jungmann, Tanja, 2016. "How much can we trust maternal ratings of early child development in disadvantaged samples?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 73-76.
    6. Herbst, Chris M. & Tekin, Erdal, 2012. "The geographic accessibility of child care subsidies and evidence on the impact of subsidy receipt on childhood obesity," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 37-52.
    7. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
    8. Michael J. Kottelenberg & Steven F. Lehrer, 2017. "Targeted or Universal Coverage? Assessing Heterogeneity in the Effects of Universal Child Care," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(3), pages 609-653.
    9. Aakvik, Arild & Heckman, James J. & Vytlacil, Edward J., 2005. "Estimating treatment effects for discrete outcomes when responses to treatment vary: an application to Norwegian vocational rehabilitation programs," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 15-51.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lergetporer, Philipp & Werner, Katharina & Woessmann, Ludger, 2018. "Educational Inequality and Public Policy Preferences: Evidence from Representative Survey Experiments," IZA Discussion Papers 11730, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Nina Drange & Kjetil Telle, 2018. "Universal child care and inequality of opportunity. Descriptive findings from Norway," Discussion Papers 880, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    3. Sandner, Malte & Thomsen, Stephan L., 2018. "The Effects of Universal Public Childcare Provision on Cases of Child Neglect and Abuse," IZA Discussion Papers 11687, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Anna Busse & Christina Gathmann, 2018. "Free Daycare and Its Effects on Children and Their Families," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 958, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    universal child care; child development; marginal treatment effects;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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