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No Child Left Behind. Universal Child Care and Children's Long-Run Outcomes

There is a heated debate in the US and Canada, as well as in many European countries, about a move towards subsidized, universally accessible child care. At the same time, studies on universal child care and child development are scarce, limited to short-run outcomes, and the findings are mixed. We analyze the introduction of subsidized, universally accessible child care in Norway, addressing the impact on the long-run outcomes of children. Our precise difference-in-difference estimates show that child care had strong positive effects on children's educational attainment and labor market participation, and also reduced welfare dependency. 17,500 new child care places produces around 6,200 additional years of education. In line with these results, we find that children exposed to child care delay child bearing and family formation as adults. Subsample estimations by child's sex and mother's education suggest that good access to subsidized child care levels the playing field. A battery of specification checks support our empirical strategy.

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Paper provided by Statistics Norway, Research Department in its series Discussion Papers with number 582.

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Date of creation: May 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:582
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  1. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2006. "Universal Childcare, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," Working Papers id:547, eSocialSciences.
  2. Samuel Berlinski & Sebastian Galiani, 2004. "The effect of a large expansion of pre-primary school facilities on preschool attendance and maternal employment," IFS Working Papers W04/30, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. Berlinski, Samuel & Galiani, Sebastian & Manacorda, Marco, 2008. "Giving children a better start: Preschool attendance and school-age profiles," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1416-1440, June.
  4. 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.
  5. Haegeland, Torbjorn & Klette, Tor Jakob & Salvanes, Kjell G, 1999. " Declining Returns to Education in Norway? Comparing Estimates across Cohorts, Sectors and Over Time," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(4), pages 555-76, December.
  6. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian A Jacob & Steven Levitt, 2006. "The Effect of School Choice on Participants: Evidence from Randomized Lotteries," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1191-1230, 09.
  7. Paul W. Rhode & Koleman S. Strumpf, 2003. "Assessing the Importance of Tiebout Sorting: Local Heterogeneity from 1850 to 1990," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1648-1677, December.
  8. Fitzpatrick Maria D, 2008. "Starting School at Four: The Effect of Universal Pre-Kindergarten on Children's Academic Achievement," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-40, November.
  9. 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.
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