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Targeted or Universal Coverage? Assessing Heterogeneity in the Effects of Universal Childcare

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  • Michael J. Kottelenberg
  • Steven F. Lehrer

Abstract

We extend earlier research evaluating the Quebec Family Policy by providing the first evidence on the distributional effects of universal child care on two specific developmental outcomes. Our analysis uncovers substantial policy relevant heterogeneity in the estimated effect of access to subsidized child care across two developmental score distributions for children from two-parent families. Whereas past research reported findings of negative effects on mothers and children from these families, igniting controversy, our estimates reveal a more nuanced image that formal child care can indeed boost developmental outcomes for children from some households: particularly disadvantaged single-parent households. In addition, we document significant heterogeneity that differs by child gender. We present suggestive evidence that the heterogeneity in policy effects that emerges across child gender and family type is consistent with differences in the home learning environments generated by parents behaviors that are previously present and are shaped by responses to the policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael J. Kottelenberg & Steven F. Lehrer, 2016. "Targeted or Universal Coverage? Assessing Heterogeneity in the Effects of Universal Childcare," NBER Working Papers 22126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22126
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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