Frisch seminar: Thomas van Huizen
Human capital formation in the early years: Child development and the quality of early childhood education and care
Development in early childhood has important consequences later in life. The majority of children in the developed world spend some time in early childhood education and care (ECEC). In this study we examine the effects of ECEC quality on short- and medium-run child outcomes in the Netherlands. We measure ECEC quality using data on classroom observations (Toddler Classroom Assessment Scoring System; CLASS) in a setting for children up to age four (i.e. before kindergarten). Child outcomes are measured using an extensive test battery for children aged 2 and 3 (including PPVT) and standardized tests from age 4 onwards. To identify the effect of quality, we rely on within-center, cross-group variation in quality. We provide several tests indicating that our identifying assumptions are reasonable. The results show that ECEC quality significantly increases (language) development in the early years. However, there is no strong evidence that these effects persist in primary school.