DP11120 Cognitive and non-cognitive costs of daycare 0-2 for girls

Author(s): Margherita Fort, Andrea Ichino, Giulio Zanella
Publication Date: February 2016
Keyword(s): child development, childcare, cognitive skills, daycare, non-cognitive skills
JEL(s): H75, I20, I28, J13
Programme Areas: Labour Economics, Public Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=11120

Exploiting admission thresholds in a Regression Discontinuity Design, we study the causal effects of daycare at age 0-2 on cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes at age 8-14. One additional month in daycare reduces IQ by 0.5% (4.5% of a standard deviation). Effects for conscientiousness are small and imprecisely estimated. Psychologists suggest that children in daycare experience fewer one-to-one interactions with adults, which should be particularly relevant for girls who are more capable than boys of exploiting cognitive stimuli at an early age. In line with this interpretation, losses for girls are larger and more significant, especially in affuent families.