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Giving Children a Better Start: Preschool Attendance & School-Age Profiles

  • Sam Berlinksi


  • Sebastian Galiani


  • Marco Manacorda


We study the effect of pre-primary education on children's subsequent school outcomes by exploiting a unique feature of the Uruguayan household survey (ECH) that collects retrospective information on preschool attendance in the context of a rapid expansion in the supply of preprimary places. Using a within household estimator, we find small gains from preschool attendance at early ages that magnify as children grow up. By age 15, treated children have accumulated 0.8 extra years of education and are 27 percentage points more likely to be in school compared to their untreated siblings. Instrumental variables estimates that control for non random selection of siblings into pre-school lead to similar results. We speculate that early grade repetition harms subsequent school progression and that pre-primary education appears as a successful policy option to prevent early grade failure and its long lasting consequences.

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Paper provided by William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan in its series William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series with number wp860.

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Length: pages
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2007-860
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  1. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2000. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," CID Working Papers 42, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  2. 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.
  3. Eliana Garces & Duncan Thomas & Janet Currie, 2000. "Longer Term Effects of Head Start," NBER Working Papers 8054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Samuel Berlinski & Sebastian Galiani & Paul Gertler, 2006. "The effect of pre-primary education on primary school performance," IFS Working Papers W06/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 1993. "Does Head Start Make a Difference?," NBER Working Papers 4406, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 1996. "Does Head Start Help Hispanic Children?," NBER Working Papers 5805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
  8. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance, 2006. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  9. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," NBER Working Papers 12006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Michael Anderson, 2005. "Uncovering Gender Differences in the Effects of Early Intervention: A Reevaluation of the Abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training Projects," HEW 0509008, EconWPA, revised 26 Sep 2005.
  11. David Blau & Janet Currie, 2004. "Preschool, Day Care, and Afterschool Care: Who's Minding the Kids?," NBER Working Papers 10670, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Janet Currie, 2001. "Early Childhood Education Programs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 213-238, Spring.
  13. Katherine A. Magnuson & Christopher J. Ruhm & Jane Waldfogel, 2004. "Does Prekindergarten Improve School Preparation and Performance?," NBER Working Papers 10452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Human Capital Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 821, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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