The Effect of a Universal Preschool Programme on Long-Term Health Outcomes: Evidence from Spain
Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers from HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York
Early childhood education programmes are expected to improve child conditions including educational attainment, labour, and health outcomes. This study evaluates the effect of a Spanish universal preschool programme, which implied a large-scale expansion of full-time high-quality public preschool for three-year-olds in 1991, on long-term health. Using a difference-in-differences approach, I exploit the timing of the policy and the differential initial speed of implementation of public preschool expansion across regions. I compare long-term health of cohorts aged three before to those aged three after the start of the policy residing in regions with varying initial implementation intensity of the programme. The results show that the policy does not affect long-term health outcomes and use of healthcare services, except for two outcomes. A greater initial intensity in public preschool expansion by 10 percentage points decreases the likelihood of being diagnosed with asthma by 2.1 percentage points, but hospitalisation rates increase by 2.7%. The findings indicate that the effect on asthma is larger for men, hospitalisation rates are higher for pregnant women, and disadvantaged children benefit the most in terms of a lower probability of taking medicines and being diagnosed with asthma and mental health disorders.
Keywords: universal preschool programme; long-term effects; health outcomes; difference-in-differences; Spain (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I10 I28 J13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem, nep-eur, nep-hea and nep-ure
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:yor:hectdg:22/06
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