IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/lvl/lacicr/1334.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Canadian Evidence on Ten Years of Universal Preschool Policies: the Good and the Bad

Author

Listed:
  • Catherine Haeck
  • Pierre Lefebvre
  • Philip Merrigan

Abstract

More than ten years ago, to increase mothers’ participation in the labour market and to enhance child development, the province of Québec implemented a $5 per day universal childcare policy. This paper provides a comprehensive review of the costs and benefits of the program over that period. A non-experimental evaluation framework based on multiple pre- and post-treatment periods is used to estimate the policy effects. We find that the reform had important and lasting effects on the number of children aged 1 to 4 attending childcare and the numbers of hours they spend in daycare. For children aged 5, we uncovered strong evidence that implementing full-day kindergarten alone was not enough to increase maternal labour force participation and weeks worked, but when combined with the low-fee daycare program it was, and these effects were also long lasting. Our results on cognitive development suggest that the school setting is more successful in raising children’s cognitive ability than the daycare setting. Finally, we show that the fiscal costs were most likely larger than the benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • Catherine Haeck & Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2013. "Canadian Evidence on Ten Years of Universal Preschool Policies: the Good and the Bad," Cahiers de recherche 1334, CIRPEE.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:1334
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cirpee.org/fileadmin/documents/Cahiers_2013/CIRPEE13-34.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet, 2011. "Human Capital Development before Age Five," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    2. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2008. "Universal Child Care, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 709-745, August.
    3. repec:spr:portec:v:1:y:2002:i:2:d:10.1007_s10258-002-0010-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Raquel Bernal & Michael P. Keane, 2011. "Child Care Choices and Children's Cognitive Achievement: The Case of Single Mothers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(3), pages 459-512.
    5. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2009. "Alternative Approaches to Evaluation in Empirical Microeconomics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
    6. Michael J. Kottelenberg & Steven F. Lehrer, 2013. "New Evidence on the Impacts of Access to and Attending Universal Child-Care in Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 39(2), pages 263-286, June.
    7. Doyle, Orla & Harmon, Colm P. & Heckman, James J. & Tremblay, Richard E., 2009. "Investing in early human development: Timing and economic efficiency," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-6, March.
    8. Milligan, Kevin & Stabile, Mark, 2007. "The integration of child tax credits and welfare: Evidence from the Canadian National Child Benefit program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 305-326, February.
    9. Loeb, Susanna & Bridges, Margaret & Bassok, Daphna & Fuller, Bruce & Rumberger, Russell W., 2007. "How much is too much? The influence of preschool centers on children's social and cognitive development," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 52-66, February.
    10. Ylenia Brilli & Daniela Boca & Chiara D. Pronzato, 2016. "Does child care availability play a role in maternal employment and children’s development? Evidence from Italy," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 27-51, March.
    11. Stephen G. Donald & Kevin Lang, 2007. "Inference with Difference-in-Differences and Other Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 221-233, May.
    12. DeCicca, Philip, 2007. "Does full-day kindergarten matter? Evidence from the first two years of schooling," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 67-82, February.
    13. David M. Blau, 1999. "The Effect of Child Care Characteristics on Child Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(4), pages 786-822.
    14. Maria Donovan Fitzpatrick, 2010. "Preschoolers Enrolled and Mothers at Work? The Effects of Universal Prekindergarten," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 51-85, January.
    15. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2008. "Child-Care Policy and the Labor Supply of Mothers with Young Children: A Natural Experiment from Canada," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 519-548, July.
    16. Bauernschuster, Stefan & Schlotter, Martin, 2015. "Public child care and mothers' labor supply—Evidence from two quasi-experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 1-16.
    17. Raquel Bernal, 2008. "The Effect Of Maternal Employment And Child Care On Children'S Cognitive Development," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1173-1209, November.
    18. Bettendorf, Leon J.H. & Jongen, Egbert L.W. & Muller, Paul, 2015. "Childcare subsidies and labour supply — Evidence from a large Dutch reform," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 112-123.
    19. Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2010. "Evidence from Maternity Leave Expansions of the Impact of Maternal Care on Early Child Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(1).
    20. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    21. 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.
    22. Christina Felfe & Natalia Nollenberger & Núria Rodríguez-Planas, 2015. "Can’t buy mommy’s love? Universal childcare and children’s long-term cognitive development," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 393-422, April.
    23. Macdonald, Ryan, 2007. "Canadian and U.S. Real Income Growth Pre and Post 2000: A Reversal of Fortunes," Economic Analysis (EA) Research Paper Series 2007048e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    24. Lundin, Daniela & Mörk, Eva & Öckert, Björn, 2008. "How far can reduced childcare prices push female labour supply?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 647-659, August.
    25. Paul Gregg & Elizabeth Washbrook & Carol Propper & Simon Burgess, 2005. "The Effects of a Mother's Return to Work Decision on Child Development in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(501), pages 48-80, February.
    26. Havnes, Tarjei & Mogstad, Magne, 2011. "Money for nothing? Universal child care and maternal employment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1455-1465.
    27. Lefebvre, Pierre & Merrigan, Philip & Verstraete, Matthieu, 2009. "Dynamic labour supply effects of childcare subsidies: Evidence from a Canadian natural experiment on low-fee universal child care," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 490-502, October.
    28. Catherine HAECK, 2011. "Increased paid maternitiy leave and children's development measured at age four to five. An empirical analysis," Working Papers Department of Economics ces11.15, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
    29. Jane Waldfogel & Wen-Jui Han & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2002. "The effects of early maternal employment on child cognitive development," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 39(2), pages 369-392, May.
    30. 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.
    31. Jane Waldfogel, 2002. "Child care, women's employment, and child outcomes," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(3), pages 527-548.
    32. William T. Gormley, Jr. & Ted Gayer, 2005. "Promoting School Readiness in Oklahoma: An Evaluation of Tulsa's Pre-K Program," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(3).
    33. Jean-Yves Duclos, 2006. "Innis Lecture: Equity and equality," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1073-1104, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2017. "The Economic Consequences of Family Policies: Lessons from a Century of Legislation in High-Income Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 205-230, Winter.
    2. Haeck, Catherine & Lefebvre, Pierre & Merrigan, Philip, 2014. "The distributional impacts of a universal school reform on mathematical achievements: A natural experiment from Canada," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 137-160.
    3. Tamar Khitarishvili, 2016. "Gender Dimensions of Inequality in the Countries of Central Asia, South Caucasus, and Western CIS," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_858, Levy Economics Institute.
    4. Katharine G. Abraham & Melissa S. Kearney, 2018. "Explaining the Decline in the U.S. Employment-to-Population Ratio: A Review of the Evidence," NBER Working Papers 24333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Marie Connolly & Catherine Haeck, 2015. "Are Childcare Subsidies Good for Parental Well-being? Empirical Evidence from Three Countries," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 13(1), pages 09-15, 04.
    6. Daniela Vuri, 2016. "Do childcare policies increase maternal employment?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 241-241, March.
    7. Catherine Haeck & Pierre Lefebvre & Xiaozhou Zhou, 2014. "The Power of the Purse: New Evidence on the Distribution of Income and Expenditures within the Family from a Canadian Experiment," Cahiers de recherche 1415, CIRPEE.
    8. Michael J. Kottelenberg & Steven F. Lehrer, 2017. "Does Quebec's Subsidized Child Care Policy Give Boys and Girls an Equal Start?," NBER Working Papers 23259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. repec:ces:ifodic:v:13:y:2015:i:1:p:19160201 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Childcare policy; mother's labour supply; preschool children and school readiness; treatment effects; natural experiment;

    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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:1334. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Manuel Paradis). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/cirpeca.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.