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Kindergarten for all: Long run effects of a universal intervention

Theory and evidence points towards particularly positive effects of high-quality child care for disadvantaged children. At the same time, disadvantaged families often sort out of existing programs. To counter differences in learning outcomes between children from different socioeconomic backgrounds, European governments are pushing for universal child care. However, empirical evidence on the effects of universal programs is scarce. We provide evidence on the long-run effect on schooling of mandating kindergarten at age 5--6. Our identifying variation comes from a reform that lowered school starting-age from 7 to 6 in Norway in 1997. Our precise DD estimates reveal hardly any effect, both overall, across subsamples, and over the grading distribution. A battery of specification checks supports our empirical strategy.

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Paper provided by Statistics Norway, Research Department in its series Discussion Papers with number 695.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:695
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  1. Havnes, Tarjei & Mogstad, Magne, 2012. "Is Universal Child Care Leveling the Playing Field?," Memorandum 31/2012, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. 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, 08.
  4. Loken, Katrine Vellesen & Mogstad, Magne & Wiswall, Matthew, 2010. "What Linear Estimators Miss: Re-Examining the Effects of Family Income on Child Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 4971, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Janet Currie, 2001. "Early Childhood Education Programs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 213-238, Spring.
  6. 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.
  7. Felfe, Christina & Nollenberger, Natalia & Rodríguez-Planas, Núria, 2012. "Can't Buy Mommy's Love? Universal Childcare and Children's Long-Term Cognitive Development," IZA Discussion Papers 7053, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Felfe, Christina & Lalive, Rafael, 2013. "Early Child Care and Child Development: For Whom it Works and Why," CEPR Discussion Papers 9274, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Elizabeth U. Cascio, 2009. "Do Investments in Universal Early Education Pay Off? Long-term Effects of Introducing Kindergartens into Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 14951, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Eric Bettinger & Torbjørn Hægeland & Mari Rege, 2013. "Home with Mom: The effects of stay-at-home parents on children's long-run educational outcomes," Discussion Papers 739, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  11. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Simonsen, Marianne, 2010. "Non-cognitive child outcomes and universal high quality child care," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 30-43, February.
  12. Gordon B. Dahl & Lance Lochner, 2005. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement," NBER Working Papers 11279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Samuel Berlinski & Sebastian Galiani & Marco Manacorda, 2006. "Giving children a better start: preschool attendance and school-age profiles," IFS Working Papers W06/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  14. Sergio Firpo & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Unconditional Quantile Regressions," NBER Technical Working Papers 0339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Esther Duflo, 2001. "Schooling and Labor Market Consequences of School Construction in Indonesia: Evidence from an Unusual Policy Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 795-813, September.
  16. Nina Drange & Mari Rege, 2012. "Trapped at Home: The Effect of Mothers' Temporary Labor Market Exits on their Subsequent Work Career," CESifo Working Paper Series 3833, CESifo Group Munich.
  17. Paul J. Devereux & Sandra E. Black & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2008. "Too young to leave the nest? The effects of school starting age," Open Access publications 10197/737, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  18. Baker, Michael, 2011. "Universal Early Childhood Interventions: What is the Evidence Base?," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2011-29, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 28 Nov 2011.
  19. James J. Heckman & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter A. Savelyev, 2012. "Understanding the Mechanisms through Which an Influential Early Childhood Program Boosted Adult Outcomes," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 12-00011, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  20. Havnes, Tarjei & Mogstad, Magne, 2010. "Is Universal Child Care Leveling the Playing Field? Evidence from Non-Linear Difference-in-Differences," IZA Discussion Papers 4978, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. Leuven, Edwin & Lindahl, Mikael & Oosterbeek, Hessel & Webbink, Dinand, 2010. "Expanding schooling opportunities for 4-year-olds," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 319-328, June.
  22. Barnett, W. Steven & Belfield, Clive R., 2006. "Early childhood development and social mobility," MPRA Paper 858, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  23. Michael Baker, 2011. "Innis Lecture: Universal early childhood interventions: what is the evidence base?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1069-1105, November.
  24. Philip DeCicca & Justin D. Smith, 2011. "The Long-Run Impacts of Early Childhood Education: Evidence From a Failed Policy Experiment," NBER Working Papers 17085, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Anderson, Michael L., 2008. "Multiple Inference and Gender Differences in the Effects of Early Intervention: A Reevaluation of the Abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training Projects," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103(484), pages 1481-1495.
  26. Sebastian Galiani & Samuel Berlinski, 2005. "The Effect of a Large Expansion of Pre-Primary School Facilities on Preschool Attendance and Maternal Employment," Working Papers 77, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Aug 2005.
  27. David Deming, 2009. "Early Childhood Intervention and Life-Cycle Skill Development: Evidence from Head Start," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 111-34, July.
  28. 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, 07.
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