Child Care

Private Cost or Public Responsibility?

Published In: Care, Education, Medical Care, and Long Term Care In America / Fuchs V. R. Ed. (Washington, D.C. : National Bureau of Economic Research, 1995), p. 33-56

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1995

by Arleen Leibowitz

The author of this article contends that the quality of child care is an important determinant of a child's later success in life. Quality pre-school is especially beneficial for disadvantaged children, even for those whose mothers do not work. Interventions early in a child's life have the potential to be particularly cost-effective since the enhanced skills can be brought to all future activities. In addition to this efficiency argument, equity considerations also suggest that the government has a proper role in promoting quality child care. The expansion of the Head Start Program for toddlers is a valuable step, and the large pay-off for programs that intervene with high-risk children at infancy suggests that it may be beneficial to begin with even younger children.

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