Does Early Child Care Affect Children's Development?

45 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2018

See all articles by Christina Felfe

Christina Felfe

University of St. Gallen; University of St. Gallen - Swiss Institute for Empirical Economic Research (SEW)

Rafael Lalive

University of Lausanne - Department of Economics (DEEP); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Date Written: February 2018

Abstract

We study how early child care (ECC) affects children's development in a marginal treatment effect framework that allows for rich forms of observed and unobserved effect heterogeneity. Exploiting a reform in Germany that induced school districts to expand ECC at different points in time, we find strong but diverging effects on children's motor and socio-emotional skills. Children who were most likely to attend ECC benefit in terms of their motor skill development. Children who were least likely to attend ECC gain in terms of their socio-emotional skill development, especially boys and children from disadvantaged families, such as those with low education or migration backgrounds. Simulating expansions of ECC, we find that a moderate expansion fosters motor skills for all children and language skills for boys and immigrant children. A progressive expansion of ECC improves all children's socio-emotional development but neither their motor skills nor their language skills.

Keywords: child development, early child care, marginal treatment effects, rationing

JEL Classification: I21, I38, J13

Suggested Citation

Felfe, Christina and Lalive, Rafael, Does Early Child Care Affect Children's Development? (February 2018). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12675. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3118323

Christina Felfe (Contact Author)

University of St. Gallen ( email )

Bodanstrasse 6
St. Gallen, 9000
Switzerland

University of St. Gallen - Swiss Institute for Empirical Economic Research (SEW)

Varnbuelstrasse 14
St. Gallen, 9000
Switzerland

Rafael Lalive

University of Lausanne - Department of Economics (DEEP) ( email )

BFSH1
Lausanne, 1015
Switzerland

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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