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Department of Economics, WU (Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien) Working papers, Department of Economics, WU (Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien)

No 233:
The Returns to Preschool Attendance

Pirmin Fessler () and Alyssa Schneebaum ()

Abstract: Preschool attendance is widely recognized as a key ingredient for later socioeconomic success, mothers' labor market participation, and leveling the playing field for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. However, the empirical evidence for these claims is still relatively scarce, particularly in Europe. Using data from the 2011 Austrian European Union Statistics of Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), we contribute to this literature in all mentioned dimensions. In particular, we investigate the effect of preschool attendance on an individual's later educational attainment, the probability that they work full time and their hourly wages, the likelihood of the mother working when the child is 14 years old, and on the overall distribution of wages. We find strong and positive effects of preschool attendance on educational attainment, the probability of working full time, hourly wages, and the probability that the mother is in the labor market. Full time workers at the bottom and the top of the distribution tend to benefit less than those in the middle. Women in particular benefit more in terms of years of schooling and the probability of working full time. Other disadvantaged groups (second migration migrants; people with less educated parents) also often benefit more in terms of education and work.

Keywords: returns to preschool/kindergarten, early childhood education, education, inequality; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: I26,; J62,; I24,; H52,; I38; (follow links to similar papers)

September 2016

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