Working Paper Series
IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy
Does early child care help or hurt childrens's development?
() and Rafael Lalive
Abstract: More children than ever attend center-based care early in
life. We study whether children who attend center-based care before age 3
have better or worse language and motor skills, socio-emotional maturity,
and school readiness just before entering primary school. In data covering
about 36,000 children in one West German state, we use a marginal treatment
effects framework to show how causal effects vary with observed
characteristics of children, parents, and care centers and with unobserved
preferences for center-based care. Early center-based care benefits
children with less educated mothers or foreign parents. Benefits increase
when parents have a preference for center-based care. Centers with small
playgroups and with experienced, trained, or full-time working staff
produce the best effects. A modest expansion of the number of places in
early care centers improves children's development, whereas a strong
expansion has no significant effects.
Keywords: Child care; child development; marginal treatment effects; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: I21; I38; J13; (follow links to similar papers)
53 pages, October 10, 2014
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