The Impact of Child-Care Subsidies on Child Development: Evidence from Geographic Variation in the Distance to Social Service Agencies

Chris Herbst, Erdal Tekin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the impact of U.S. child-care subsidies on the cognitive and behavioral development of children in low-income female-headed families. We identify the effect of subsidy receipt by exploiting geographic variation in the distance that families must travel from home to reach the nearest social service agency that administers the subsidy application process. Using data from the Kindergarten cohort of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, our instrumental variables estimates suggest that children receiving subsidized child care in the year before kindergarten score lower on tests of cognitive ability and reveal more behavior problems throughout kindergarten. An auxiliary analysis of longer-run outcomes shows that these negative effects largely disappear by the time children finish first grade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-116
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Policy Analysis and Management
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration

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