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The Effect of a Universal Preschool Programme on Long-Term Health Outcomes: Evidence from Spain

Thursday 2 December 2021, 1.00PM to 2.00pm

Speaker(s): Laia Bosque Mercader

Abstract: Early childhood education programmes are expected to improve child conditions including educational attainment, labour market outcomes, and health.This study evaluates a Spanish universal preschool programme, which implied a large-scale expansion of full-time high-quality public preschool for three-year-olds implemented in 1991/92 school year and crowded out family care, and its effects on long-term health and healthcare outcomes. Using a difference-in-differences analysis, I exploit the timing of the policy and the differential initial speed of implementation of public preschool uptake across regions by comparing long-term health outcomes between cohorts aged three before the policy and those aged three after residing in regions with varying levels of initial intensity of the programme. The results show that greater initial intensity in public preschool decreases the likelihood of being diagnosed with asthma for individuals aged three after the policy. In addition, I find a positive impact on hospitalisation rates mainly driven by men and women with pregnancy-related diagnoses. Children with parents that have medium-educational levels benefit the most in terms of lower probability of consuming medicines, but they also experience a greater probability of visiting an emergency service. No effects are found on self-reported health status, chronic allergy, mental disorders, doctor visits, and deaths.

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Admission: Staff and PhD Students