NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Does Quebec's Subsidized Child Care Policy Give Boys and Girls an Equal Start?

Michael J. Kottelenberg, Steven F. Lehrer

NBER Working Paper No. 23259
Issued in March 2017
NBER Program(s):Children, Economics of Education

Although an increasing body of research promotes the development of universal early education and care programs, little is known about the extent to which these programs affect gender gaps in academic achievement and other developmental outcomes. Analyzing the introduction of universal highly-subsidized child care in Quebec, we first demonstrate that there are no statistically significant gender differences in the average effect of access to universal child care on child outcomes. However, we find substantial heterogeneity in policy impacts on the variance of developmental and behavioral scores across genders. Additionally, our analysis reveals significant evidence of differential parenting practices by gender in response to the introduction of the policy. The analysis is suggestive that the availability of subsidized child care changed home environments disproportionately, and may be responsible for the growing gender gaps in behavioral outcomes observed after child care is subsidized.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23259

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