Does preschool education attendance matter? Evidence from a natural experiment in Spain

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Santín González, Daniel and Sicilia, Gabriela (2018) Does preschool education attendance matter? Evidence from a natural experiment in Spain. Applied Economics, 50 (47). pp. 5048-5061. ISSN 0003-6846

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/00036846.2018.1470314



Abstract

The non-compulsory and non-free of charge character of preschool education level before 3 years old in Spain raises some doubts about the exogenous nature of this variable. This article provides new evidence about the impact of preschool years on educational outcomes by exploiting a peculiar Spanish database that supplies information on two classrooms at fourth grade in primary schools where students were randomly allocated into each group. Using an identification strategy that reproduces a natural experiment, we find that belonging to the group with more average years of preschool education significantly and positively impacts on fourthgrade students’ average outcomes. Particularly, an increase of one standard deviation in the difference in years of preschool attendance results in an increase of 0.16 (0.13) standard deviations in the group achievement for mathematics (reading). In view of the importance of preschool education and considering that preschool attendance before 3 years old is related with socio-economic variables, we conclude that extending free preschool education to the 2-year-old age group in Spain should be considered especially for students in families with less favourable
backgrounds.


Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Preschool education; Students’ outcomes; Natural experiment; Public expenditure
Subjects:Social sciences > Economics > Econometrics
Social sciences > Economics > Public economy
Humanities > Education
JEL:C50, I21, H52
ID Code:60320
Deposited On:04 May 2020 11:03
Last Modified:04 May 2020 11:03

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