What Happens When Child Care Inspections and Complaints are Made Available on the Internet?

34 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2004 Last revised: 7 Mar 2015

See all articles by Ann Dryden Witte

Ann Dryden Witte

Wellesley College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Magaly Queralt

Wellesley Child Care Research Partnership

Date Written: January 2004

Abstract

We provide substantial evidence that placing child care provider inspection and complaint reports on the Internet changed the behavior of child care inspectors and improved the quality of child care received by low-income children. We believe that these results were forthcoming in part because: (1) the media widely reported the availability of this information on the Web, (2) the information was easy to locate and use and (3) the inspector's name and contact information appeared on the first page of the reports. To be more specific, we find that, after child care provider inspection and complaint reports are made available on the Internet: (1) inspectors produce significantly more inspection reports and (2) inspectors become significantly more likely to provide mixed reviews of centers in the course of their routine inspections, finding that centers sometimes meet minimum standards and other times fail to do so. Controlling for time trends and other unobserved policy and economic changes, we also find that, after inspection reports are made available on the Internet, there is a significant improvement in classroom environment and center management at centers serving low-income children with child care subsidies. While the magnitude of the improvement in terms of observational assessment scores (i.e., 2.82 points, or « of a standard deviation) is moderate, it is comparable in size to improvements often achieved by more expensive approaches to improve classroom environment or the curriculum.

Suggested Citation

Dryden Witte, Ann and Queralt, Magaly, What Happens When Child Care Inspections and Complaints are Made Available on the Internet? (January 2004). NBER Working Paper No. w10227, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=486231

Ann Dryden Witte (Contact Author)

Wellesley College - Department of Economics ( email )

106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02181
United States
781-283-2163 (Phone)
781-283-2177 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Magaly Queralt

Wellesley Child Care Research Partnership ( email )

Wellesley College
Wellesley, MA 02481
United States

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

Paper statistics

Downloads
36
Abstract Views
1,197
PlumX Metrics