NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Effects of Accountability Incentives in Early Childhood Education

Daphna Bassok, Thomas Dee, Scott Latham

NBER Working Paper No. 23859
Issued in September 2017
NBER Program(s):ED

In an effort to enhance the quality of early childhood education (ECE) at scale, nearly all U.S. states have recently adopted Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS). These accountability systems give providers and parents information on program quality and create both reputational and financial incentives for program improvement. However, we know little about whether these accountability reforms operate as theorized. This study provides the first empirical evidence on this question using data from North Carolina, a state with a mature QRIS. Using a regression discontinuity design, we examine how quasi-random assignment to a lower quality rating influenced subsequent outcomes of ECE programs. We find that programs responded to a lower quality rating with comparative performance gains, including improvement on a multi-faceted measure of classroom quality. Programs quasi-randomly assigned to a lower star rating also experienced enrollment declines, which is consistent with the hypothesis that parents responded to information about program quality by selectively enrolling away from programs with lower ratings. These effects were concentrated among programs that faced higher levels of competition from nearby providers.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23859

 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us