NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Non-Cognitive Deficits and Young Adult Outcomes: The Long-Run Impacts of a Universal Child Care Program

Michael Baker, Jonathan Gruber, Kevin Milligan

NBER Working Paper No. 21571
Issued in September 2015
NBER Program(s):   CH

Past research has demonstrated that positive increments to the non-cognitive development of children can have long-run benefits. We test the symmetry of this contention by studying the effects of a sizeable negative shock to non-cognitive skills due to the introduction of universal child care in Quebec. We first confirm earlier findings showing reduced contemporaneous non-cognitive development following the program introduction in Quebec, with little impact on cognitive test scores. We then show these non-cognitive deficits persisted to school ages, and also that cohorts with increased child care access subsequently had worse health, lower life satisfaction, and higher crime rates later in life. The impacts on criminal activity are concentrated in boys. Our results reinforce previous evidence on the central role of non-cognitive skills for long-run success.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21571

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