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Childcare Policy and Cognitive Outcomes of Children: Results from a Large Scale Quasi-Experiment on Universal Childcare in Canada

Author

Listed:
  • Pierre Lefebvre
  • Philip Merrigan
  • Matthieu Verstraete

Abstract

Effects of a low-fee universal childcare policy, initiated in Québec, the second most populous province in Canada, on the cognitive development of preschool children are estimated with a sample of 4- and 5-year-olds (N=8,875; N=17,154). In 1997, licensed and regulated providers of childcare services began offering daycare spaces at the reduced fee of $5 per day per child for children aged 4. By 2000, the low-fee policy applied to all children aged 0 to 59 months (not in kindergarten). The study uses 6 cycles of biennial data drawn from Statistics Canada's National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (1994-2004) and quasi-experimental estimation methods to provide evidence that the policy had substantial negative effects on preschool children's Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test scores. The negative effects are found to be stronger for children with mothers who have lower levels of education.

Suggested Citation

  • Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan & Matthieu Verstraete, 2008. "Childcare Policy and Cognitive Outcomes of Children: Results from a Large Scale Quasi-Experiment on Universal Childcare in Canada," Cahiers de recherche 0823, CIRPEE.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0823
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    File URL: http://www.cirpee.org/fileadmin/documents/Cahiers_2008/CIRPEE08-23.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dominic Richardson & UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, 2018. "Key Findings on Families, Family Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals: Synthesis Report," Papers inorer948, Innocenti Research Report.
    2. Havnes, Tarjei & Mogstad, Magne, 2015. "Is universal child care leveling the playing field?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 100-114.
    3. van Huizen, Thomas & Plantenga, Janneke, 2018. "Do children benefit from universal early childhood education and care? A meta-analysis of evidence from natural experiments," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 206-222.
    4. Andreoli, Francesco & Havnes, Tarjei & Lefranc, Arnaud, 2014. "Equalization of Opportunity: Definitions, Implementable Conditions and Application to Early-Childhood Policy Evaluation," IZA Discussion Papers 8503, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan & Francis Roy-Desrosiers, 2011. "Québec's Childcare Universal Low Fees Policy 10 Years After: Effects, Costs and Benefits," Cahiers de recherche 1101, CIRPEE.
    6. Cherry Y Leung & Gabriel M Leung & C Mary Schooling, 2015. "Informal Child Care and Adolescent Psychological Well-Being: Hong Kong’s “Children of 1997” Birth Cohort," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 10(3), pages 1-13, March.
    7. Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2015. "Maternity leave and children’s cognitive and behavioral development," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 373-391, April.
    8. Andersland, Leroy, 2017. "A Universal Childcare Expansion, Quality, Starting Age, and School Performance," Working Papers in Economics 8/17, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Preschool children; school readiness; childcare; kindergarten; treatment effects; natural experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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