Are There Long-Term Benefits from Early Childhood Education in Low- and Middle-Income Countries?
43 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2018
Date Written: August 1, 2018
We examine the relationship between participation in early childhood education (ECE) and various long-term outcomes: post-ECE educational attainment, cognitive skills, socioemotional skills, and labor market outcomes. The data are from the recent Skills Toward Employability and Productivity surveys of urban adults in 12 low- and middle-income countries. Using OLS regression and propensity score matching techniques, we find suggestive evidence of long-term benefits across countries, as well as mixed evidence within countries. Notably, we find positive and statistically significant associations between ECE participation and post-ECE educational attainment (a mean of 0.9 additional years across countries). We find relatively fewer cases of positive associations between ECE and long-term socioemotional outcomes. The evidence on ECE and labor market outcomes is varied, with positive associations for skill-use but weak associations with earnings. Such mixed results suggest that improvements in the quality of ECE programs are necessary for realizing the full range of long-term benefits.
Keywords: early childhood education, comparative education, education policy, socio-emotional skills, cognitive skills
JEL Classification: I21, I24, I25, I26, I28, O15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation