Lebihan, Laetitia Haeck, Catherine Merrigan, Philip
Research Group on Human Capital - Working Paper Series No. 15-02
Starting in 1997, the Canadian province of Quebec implemented a $5 per day universal childcare policy for children aged less than 5 years old. This reform significantly increased mothers' participation in the labor market as well as the proportion of children attending subsidized childcare. In this paper, we evaluate the long-term effects of the policy on child well-being (health, behavior, motor and social development) using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth. We follow treated children for more than 9 years and investigate the impact well beyond the first few years of the policy. A nonexperimental evaluation framework based on multiple pre- and posttreatment periods is used to estimate the policy effects. We show that the reform had negative effects on preschool children's well-being, but these effects tend to disappear as the child gets older. We find that this pattern persist even ten years after the implementation of the reform.