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Following lives from birth and through the adult years www.cls.ioe.ac.uk Kirstine Hansen and Denise Hawkes Centre for Longitudinal Studies Institute of.

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Presentation on theme: "Following lives from birth and through the adult years www.cls.ioe.ac.uk Kirstine Hansen and Denise Hawkes Centre for Longitudinal Studies Institute of."— Presentation transcript:

1 following lives from birth and through the adult years Kirstine Hansen and Denise Hawkes Centre for Longitudinal Studies Institute of Education University of London The Relationship between Childcare and Cognitive Outcomes for Children of Working Mothers

2 following lives from birth and through the adult years Background  In the UK there has been a huge growth in female employment over the last forty years.  Since the 1980s though there has been a large rise in employment among mothers.  For most mothers working means finding alternative sources of childcare.  Evidence on the impact of this on child cognitive outcomes varies.

3 following lives from birth and through the adult years Literature  The literature which looks at the effect of childcare on children’s cognitive ability shows no consensus.  But more recent literature suggests that it depends on the quality of the alternative care provided.  (The evidence is summarised in Bernal and Keane 2006 for the US and Gregg et al for the UK).

4 following lives from birth and through the adult years Childcare quality  Characteristics of childcare quality commonly found to be positively associated with child outcomes include:  Qualifications of care providers  Stability of staff  Structure and content of daily activities  Space and facilities

5 following lives from birth and through the adult years Formal Care vs Informal Care  It is usually argued that formal care (nurseries/playschools etc) provides higher quality care than informal childcare arrangements (care by relative, friends etc).  They offer qualified staff and a structured curriculum with specially equipped facilities.  Recent empirical results tend to support this by showing that formal care does not have adverse effects on child development (Gregg et al.2005).  In fact formal care may actually have a positive effect on children (Bernal and Keane 2006).

6 following lives from birth and through the adult years Informal Care  A number of recent studies show that informal care is negatively associated with child outcomes (UK - Gregg et al. 2005, US - Bernal and Keane 2006).  This may be an issue because in the UK most early care is informal.  And most early informal care is provided by grandparents.  These facts have led to stories in the UK press that grandparent care is bad for children.  In this paper we examine the effect of the type of childcare on child outcomes. With particular focus on the effect of formal care compared to informal care and grandparent care compared to other types of informal care.

7 following lives from birth and through the adult years Constructing our argument:  We argue that there are potential reasons informal care may be negatively related to cognitive child outcomes compared to formal care: Informal carers may give the child less attention. Lack structure and content of daily activities. They may be less skilled than mothers or formal carers. Lack of resources. The environment they live in may lack educational stimulation. Lack of interaction with other children.  While you could argue that the above reasons may lead to differences between grandparent and other types of informal care our hypothesis is that grandparent care should be no better or worse than any other type of informal care.

8 following lives from birth and through the adult years We are also aware that there are likely to be reasons why working mothers may use informal rather than formal care which we need to take account of:  Informal care may be used by mothers: Who cannot afford formal care. Who live in areas with supply constraints (Paull and Taylor 2002). Who are not fully informed about the benefits of formal childcare.  Qualitative evidence suggests that parental decisions about childcare involve more factors than those relating to child outcomes. Parents tend to place greater emphasis on: finding a safe and healthy environment trust flexibility a convenient location and hours dependability

9 following lives from birth and through the adult years For these Reasons we Construct the Following Hypotheses:  Formal (informal) care will be:  Positively (negatively) associated with child cognitive outcomes.  There will be no difference between grandparent care and other types of informal care.  Once other factors are controlled for the difference between formal and informal care will be reduced to statistical insignificance.

10 following lives from birth and through the adult years How well do the Results fit our Hypotheses?  Formal care will be:  Positively associated with child cognitive outcomes. DEPENDS ON OUTCOME  There will be no difference between grandparent care and other types of informal care. DEPENDS ON OUTCOME  Once other factors are controlled for the difference between formal and informal care will be reduced to statistical insignificance. NO

11 following lives from birth and through the adult years Data: Millennium Cohort Study.  Longitudinal Survey of around 19,000 children born in the UK over a twelve month period and living in selected UK wards at age 9 months.  The first survey took when the children were around 9 months old.  This provides the information on early childcare use.  The second survey took place when the children were around 3 years of age.  Child outcomes are measured at age 3.

12 following lives from birth and through the adult years Early Childcare Data  Measured at 9 months.  Formal care: Nursery/creche, childminder, nanny/au pair. Grandparent care: Any grandparent care – mostly done by the maternal grandmother. Other informal care: Partner, other relatives, friends/neighbours

13 following lives from birth and through the adult years Descriptive Statistics 1: Childcare use by working mothers at 9 months

14 following lives from birth and through the adult years The characteristics of families using different types of childcare: Formal Care  Older mother  White mother  Not lone parent  Employed partner  More educated mother and father  Own house  Work long hours  Don’t work irregular hours  Not self-employed Grandparent care  First child  Younger mother  White mother  Lone parent  Not claiming benefits  Grandparent co-resident  Mother works part-time Other informal care Not first child Other dependent children Less educated mothers Younger mother Claiming benefits Rent home Mother works part-time Mother works irregular hours Mother self-employed

15 following lives from birth and through the adult years Child Outcome Measures  British Ability Scale (BAS) Naming vocabulary test Vocabulary skills are important for success in school work but also interacting with teachers and other pupils. Bracken School Readiness Colours, numbers, letters, sizes, shapes. Skills which will be built on at school so children with good mastery will be advantaged once they enter school compared to children who are weaker in these areas.

16 following lives from birth and through the adult years Descriptive Statistics 2: Mean Child Outcomes at age 3.

17 following lives from birth and through the adult years General Child Outcome Production Function:

18 following lives from birth and through the adult years Variables Used:

19 following lives from birth and through the adult years Regressions Models:  We start with a simple model of our childcare measures (formal care, grandparent care) on our outcome measure (BAS or Bracken standarised score).  We build our model sequentially adding in control variables which may affect our relationship of primary interest.

20 following lives from birth and through the adult years Basic Regression Results: BAS  In the basic model we get positive and statistically significant coefficients on both the formal care measure and the grandparent care variable compared to other informal care. Formal care:.243***(.040) Grandparent care:.210***(.041)  The difference between formal care and grandparent care is statistically insignificant.

21 following lives from birth and through the adult years Full Model Regression Results: BAS  When we control for additional variables in our full model both coefficients are reduced in terms of magnitude but the grandparent care remains statistically significant compared to other informal care. Formal care:.043(.042) Grandparent care:.119***(.041)  The difference between formal care and grandparent care is statistically significant. Grandparent care:.076**(.037)  To summarise: When our full set of control variables are added to the model grandparent care is positively associated with BAS vocabulary test scores compared to other types of care.

22 following lives from birth and through the adult years Basic Regression Results: Bracken School Readiness.  In the basic regression of childcare on Bracken test scores both formal care and grandparent care attract positive statistically significant coefficients compared to other informal care. Formal care:.421***(.045) Grandparent care:.147***(.041)  However, the difference between formal care and grandparent care is statistically significant and negative.  Grandparent care: -.275***(.039)

23 following lives from birth and through the adult years Full Regression Results: Bracken School Readiness, continued….  When we control for additional variables in our full model the coefficient on formal care is reduced in terms of magnitude but remains statistically significant. Formal care:.194***(.044)  But the coefficient on grandparent care is reduced to statistical insignificance.  Again the difference between formal care and grandparent care is statistically significant in the full model. Grandparent care: -.145***(.038)  To summarise: Formal care is positively associated with Bracken school readiness scores even after controlling for other variables.  Once other variables are controlled for the effect of grandparent care cannot be distinguished from the effect of other types of informal care.  Both are negatively associated with Bracken scores compared to formal care.

24 following lives from birth and through the adult years Conclusions so far:  For the BAS vocabulary score grandparent care is positively associated with outcomes.  This makes sense because grandparents may not be able to provide the academic facilities or stimuli that formal care providers can but they are likely to talk and interact with children more frequently and on a one-to-one basis.  For Bracken: Formal care is associated with better cognitive scores than other types of care.  Possible reasons for this at the beginning of the presentation: formal care is more likely to offer structure and content of daily activities, formal carers are more likely to be trained, more likely to have better facilities and resources and access to more educational stimulation.

25 following lives from birth and through the adult years Sub-Group Analysis  It may be possible that the relationship between childcare and child outcomes differs for different groups.  We test this by running regressions separately for a number of different groups:  Gender  Parental education  Couple status of parents  Age of mother at child’s birth  Ethnicity  Household benefit status

26 following lives from birth and through the adult years Sub-Group Regressions Sub-groupsBASBracken GrandparentFormalGrandparentFormal Boys.125 (.057)**.076 (.059).027 (.057).154 (.065)** Girls.124 (.050)**.017 (.056).079 (.052).243 (.055)*** Low Educated Mothers.079 (.067).022 (.076)-.040 (.064).083 (.080) High Educated Mothers.146 (.055)***.056 (.053).108 (.054)**.252 (.051)*** Lone Parents.115(.139).068 (.157)-.019 (.150).124 (.159) Couples.122 (.043)***.041 (.044).061 (.040).201 (.046)*** Teen Mother.026 (.091).124 (.128)-.047 (.091).189 (.121) Older Mother.139 (.049)***.069 (.048).073 (.043).232 (.049)*** Non-white-.045 (.154).368 (.166)**-.085 (.200).529 (.164)*** White.128 (.043)***.032 (.044).050 (.040).177 (.045)*** Parents on benefits.093 (.100).047 (.098).110 (.095).198 (.109)* No benefits.129 (.043)***.049 (.046).036 (.044).187 (.049)***

27 following lives from birth and through the adult years Conclusions so far 2:  Analysis at the sub-group level suggests that the positive relationship between childcare type and child outcomes is significant for the more advantaged groups rather than the less advantaged groups.  The main exception being ethnic minority groups.  This has important policy implications.  However, this work is still in progress.

28 following lives from birth and through the adult years Work in progress…..An Instrumental Variable Approach  There is a potential issue of endogeneity if particular types of mothers/children sort themselves into particular types of childcare.  If this is the case then the results presented here would be biased.  Although it’s hard to tell a priori what direction of the bias would be.  We could potentially overcome this using an IV approach.  To do this we are instrumenting for a restricted choice set. Taking advantage of  the fact that some people do not have access to all types of care.  For example if your grandparents are dead, if they live abroad, if they live too far away from you, if they work full-time, if they are too old or ill then grandparent care is not an option.  Alternatively formal childcare places may be more or less available to some groups.  At the moment we are using these types of ideas to construct an instrument for childcare.  This has the characteristics of a good instrument - it is highly correlated with childcare, not correlated with ε and unlikely to have a direct effect on our outcome measures.  Early results suggest that our OLS estimates are not significantly biased. But we still have more work to do on this.

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