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Evaluation and determinants of preschool effectiveness in Chile

Víctor Giménez, Claudio Thieme, Diego Prior and Emili Tortosa-Ausina

Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, 2022, vol. 81, issue C

Abstract: Early intervention in quality education is a way to equalize opportunities, a premise assumed by several countries. As a result, interest has grown in preschool education, which is now an important area of public policy. However, the performance of preschool education centers has received relatively scarce research attention. Consistent with the above, the aim of this study is to examine the problem and evaluate the performance of preschool education centers that serve children from lower socioeconomic families in Chile. To this end, a centralized DEA Assurance Region model is proposed and compared with two other models. In addition, a second stage analysis is carried out using decision trees to identify variables that determine the composition of homogeneous preschool groups according to their effectiveness. The results show an average efficiency index of 70.54% with important heterogeneities between regions of the country, and significantly less than the 84.47% obtained through a traditional benefit-of-the-doubt model. The centralized (unique) weights obtained were 45% for learning, and 32% for user satisfaction and job satisfaction. A second stage analysis reveals the importance of three structural factors that mark the effectiveness of kindergartens: (i) size of the kindergarten; (ii) family income; and (iii) urban or rural location of the kindergarten. These results are relevant to public policy since they propose a valid and useful methodology for decision makers, quantify the levels of effectiveness, and emphasize the importance of focusing efforts on the centers that, due to their structural conditions, are more prone to lower levels of effectiveness. Similarly, they validate and align with the changes at this level of education in Chile in recent years.

Keywords: Assurance region; Centralized data envelopment analysis; Composite indicators; Effectiveness; Preschool (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C61 H52 I21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.seps.2020.100934

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