Discussion Paper Details

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

Author(s): Margherita Fort, Andrea Ichino and Giulio Zanella

Publication Date: February 2016

Keyword(s): child development, childcare, cognitive skills, daycare and non-cognitive skills

Programme Area(s): Labour Economics and Public Economics

Abstract: 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.

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Bibliographic Reference

Fort, M, Ichino, A and Zanella, G. 2016. 'Cognitive and non-cognitive costs of daycare 0-2 for girls'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.