Early Childcare Duration and Students' Later Outcomes in Europe

33 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2022

See all articles by Daniela Del Boca

Daniela Del Boca

University of Turin

Chiara Monfardini

University of Bologna - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Sarah Grace See

University of Groningen

Date Written: 2022


The importance of investment in early childhood education (ECE) has been widely documented in the literature. Among the benefits, particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, is its potential to mitigate educational inequality. However, some evidence also suggests that the positive effects of ECE on later outcomes tend to dissipate over time, leaving children who attended such programmes no better off academically than those who did not. This paper studies the relationship between students’ years spent in ECE and the results of their educational assessment outcomes at age 15.Using PISA survey data for fourteen European countries from 2015 and 2018, we conduct a cross-country comparison of student performance in reading, mathematics, and science, correlating the results to early childcare and pre-primary school attendance. Our findings show that participation in early childcare is associated with better assessments at age 15, but that the benefit is nonlinear and peaks at 3-4 years of childcare attendance. Examination of gender heterogeneity patterns reveals differences in girls’ and boys’ performance on the assessments; however, there are no gender differences in the relationship between childcare participation and test outcomes. We also explore differences related to the type of educational system attended and find distinct results for the unitary and separate settings.

Keywords: early childhood education, pre-primary, early investments, human capital, assessments, gender, institution, unitary, separate, PISA

JEL Classification: I200, J130, J160

Suggested Citation

Boca, Daniela Del and Monfardini, Chiara and See, Sarah Grace, Early Childcare Duration and Students' Later Outcomes in Europe (2022). CESifo Working Paper No. 9866, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4175823 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4175823

Daniela Del Boca (Contact Author)

University of Turin ( email )

Via Po 53
Torino, Turin - Piedmont 10100

Chiara Monfardini

University of Bologna - Department of Economics ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 2
Bologna, 40126
0039 51 2098148 (Phone)
0039 51 221968 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Sarah Grace See

University of Groningen ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AH Groningen, Groningen 9700 AV

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics