Early Childhood Care and Cognitive Development

87 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2020

See all articles by Juan Chaparro

Juan Chaparro

Universidad EAFIT

Aaron Sojourner

University of Minnesota; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Matthew Wiswall

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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This paper combines multiple sources of information on early childhood development in a unified model for analysis of a wide range of early childhood policy interventions. We develop a model of child care in which households decide both the quantities and qualities of maternal and non-maternal care along with maternal labor supply. The model introduces a novel parenting-effort channel, whereby child care subsidies that permit less parenting may enable better parenting. To estimate the model, we combine observational data with experimental data from the Infant Health and Development Program (IHDP) which randomly assigned free child care when the child was 1 and 2 years old.We estimate a cognitive skill production function and household preferences, giving insight into mechanisms driving the ex post heterogeneous effects of the IHDP intervention, accounting for alternative care substitutes available to the control group and spillovers of the child care offer across the household's decisions. We also estimate ex ante effects of counterfactual policies such as an offer of lower-quality care, requiring a co-pay for subsidized care, raising the maternal wage offer, or a cash transfer. Finally, we use the model to rationalize existing evidence from outside the US on the effects of universal child care programs.

Keywords: human capital, skill formation, child care, maternal labor supply

JEL Classification: J13, D1

Suggested Citation

Chaparro, Juan and Sojourner, Aaron J. and Wiswall, Matthew, Early Childhood Care and Cognitive Development. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13047, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3562837

Juan Chaparro (Contact Author)

Universidad EAFIT ( email )

Carrera 49 N° 7 sur – 50
Bogotá, Antioquia 00000

Aaron J. Sojourner

University of Minnesota ( email )

Carlson School of Management
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Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
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IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
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Matthew Wiswall

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Economics ( email )

William H. Sewell Social Science Building
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Madison, WI 53706-1393
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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