Nuremberg Research Seminar in Economics on 2 December 2020
You are invited to join the weekly Nuremberg Research Seminar in Economics on 2 December 2020 at 13:15. The seminar will be held via Zoom. Philipp Lergetporer (ifo Institut) will be talking about “Behavioral Barriers and the Socioeconomic Gap in Childcare Enrollment”.
Please find below the abstract:
Child care is an essential tool to support child development and to mitigate educational inequality early in life. While children from families with lower socioeconomic status (SES) tend to benefit more from child care, their enrollment rates are relatively low. We investigate whether alleviating behavioral barriers in the early child care application process reduces this SES gap. In a randomized controlled trial with more than 600 families with infant children in Germany, we implement a behavioral intervention that provides parents with information about child care and application assistance. Nine months after the intervention, treated lower-SES families are 21 percentage points more likely to apply for a childcare slot, and 16 percentage points more likely to be enrolled in child care. The treatment has no effect on higher-SES families. In consequence, it closes the SES gap in application probability entirely, and halves the SES gap in enrollment. Treatment effects are particularly strong for families who plan to enroll their child at relatively young age and for parents who believe that returns to child care with respect to child development are high. Analyses of supply-side constraints indicate that treatment effects are concentrated in areas with high competition for child care slots. In sum, we demonstrate that the socioeconomic gap in child care enrollment is substantially determined by behavioral barriers, implying that policies aimed at mitigating these barriers may foster equality of opportunity early on.