Which Children Benefit from Non-Parental Care?

Chikako Yamauchi, Australian National University
Andrew Leigh, Australian National University

Although randomized experiments have shown the positive impact of high-quality, early-intervention programs on disadvantaged children, there is little consensus on the effect of more widely available, ordinary childcare. This study investigates the relationship between children’s behavioural outcomes and their exposure to center-based care in the Australian childcare market. In order to address possible endogeneity of the childcare choice, propensity score matching and instrumental variable methods are used. Results show that exposure to center-based care is associated with increased reactivity or tantrum. This association is largest among low socio-economic-status (SES) households. A possible explanation for these results is that low-SES parents use center-based care of low quality. We plan to extend this research by investigating whether this negative relationship is concentrated among children who use center-based care of low quality, using measures such as the proportion of qualified staff and scores under the national accreditation system.

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Presented in Session 31: Parental Employment, Early Education and Development