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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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  • Nina Drange & Tarjei Havnes, 2012. "Kindergarten for all: Long run effects of a universal intervention," Discussion Papers 695, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:695

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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 111-134, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Siflinger, Bettina & van den Berg, Gerard, 2016. "The Effects of a Universal Child Care Reform on Child Health – Evidence from Sweden," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145765, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Felfe, Christina & Huber, Martin, 2015. "Does preschool boost the development of minority children? The case of Roma children," FSES Working Papers 455, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Freiburg/Fribourg Switzerland.
    3. 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.
    4. Felfe, Christina & Lalive, Rafael, 2014. "Does Early Child Care Help or Hurt Children's Development?," IZA Discussion Papers 8484, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    kindergarten; early childhood intervention; distributional effects; difference-in-differences; child care; child development;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General

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