New Evidence on the Impacts of Access to and Attending Universal Childcare in Canada
In Canada, advocates of universal child care often point to policies implemented in Quebec as providing a model for early education and care policies in other provinces. While these policies have proven to be incredibly popular among citizens, initial evaluations of access to these programs indicated they led to a multitude of undesirable child developmental, health and family outcomes. These research findings ignited substantial controversy and criticism. In this study, we show the robustness of the initial analyses to i) concerns over whether negative outcomes would vanish over time as suppliers gained experience providing child care, ii) concerns regarding multiple testing, and iii) concerns that the original test measured the causal impact of childcare availability and not child care attendance. A notable exception is that despite estimated effects stemming from the policy indicating declines in motor-social development scores in Quebec relative to the rest of Canada, our analyses imply that on average attending childcare in Canada leads to a significant increase in this test score. However, our analysis reveals substantial heterogeneity in program impacts that occur in response to the Quebec policies and indicates that most of the negative impacts reported in earlier research are driven by children from families who only attended childcare in response to the implementation of this policy.
We would like to thank Habiba Djebbari and seminar participants at the University of Toronto, 2010 CEA Annual meetings, John Deutsch Institute's conference on Economic Relations Between Children and Parents, 2012 RES annual meetings, and the CEPS/INSTEAD's conference on the Theory and Practice of Program Evaluation for helpful comments and suggestions. We would like to thank Kevin Milligan for generously answering a number of questions regarding earlier analysis of the data used in the study. This paper is a revised version of a portion of Kottelenberg's Queen's University 2009 Master's research paper. Lehrer wishes to thank SSHRC for research support. We are responsible for all errors. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Michael J. Kottelenberg & Steven F. Lehrer, 2013. "New Evidence on the Impacts of Access to and Attending Universal Child-Care in Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 39(2), pages 263-286, June. citation courtesy of