Does Quebec's Subsidized Child Care Policy Give Boys and Girls an Equal Start?
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.
We would like to thank anonymous reviewers, Habiba Djebbai, Jessica Pan, Aloysius Siow, Eugenia Toma and seminar participants at the University of Toronto, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2011 CLSRN-SOLE meeting, 2010 CEA annual meeting, John Deutsch Institute's Conference on Economic Relations Between Children and Parents, 2012 RES annual meetings, 2011 IEB Workshop on Economics of Education 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. This paper previously circulated under the title "The Gender Effects of Universal Child Care in Canada: Much ado about Boys?". 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, 2018. "Does Quebec’s subsidized child care policy give boys and girls an equal start?," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, vol 51(2), pages 627-659. citation courtesy of