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The Impact of Non-Parental Child Care on Child Development: Evidence from the Summer Participation "Dip"

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  • Herbst, Chris M.

    () (Arizona State University)

Abstract

Although a large literature examines the effect of non-parental child care on preschool-aged children's cognitive development, few studies deal convincingly with the potential endogeneity of child care choices. Using a panel of infants and toddlers from the Birth cohort of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS-B), this paper attempts to provide causal estimates by leveraging heretofore unrecognized seasonal variation in child care participation. Child assessments in the ECLS-B were conducted on a rolling basis throughout the year, and I use the participation "dip" among those assessed during the summer as the basis for an instrumental variable. The summer participation "dip" is likely to be exogenous because ECLS-B administrators strictly controlled the mechanism by which children were assigned to assessment dates. The OLS results show that children utilizing non-parental arrangements score higher on tests of mental ability, a finding that holds after accounting for individual fixed effects. However, the instrumental variables estimates point to sizeable negative effects of non-parental care. The adverse effects are driven by participation in formal settings, and, contrary to previous research, I find that disadvantaged children do not benefit from exposure to non-parental child care settings.

Suggested Citation

  • Herbst, Chris M., 2012. "The Impact of Non-Parental Child Care on Child Development: Evidence from the Summer Participation "Dip"," IZA Discussion Papers 7039, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7039
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    maternal employment; child development; child care;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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