What Parents Pay For

Child Care Characteristics, Quality, and Costs

by Linda Waite, Arleen Leibowitz, Christina Witsberger


Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.8 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback16 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

Although most children whose mothers work receive some nonparental care, this "child care" varies tremendously in its characteristics, especially quality. Child development researchers and practitioners have explored in detail the characteristics of child care that provide the best environment for children. However, virtually nothing is known about which parents select "high-quality" care for their children, or which arrangements most often have the features associated with the best outcomes for children. This Note explores these issues, using parents' reports of characteristics of their child's care arrangement from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Results show that on several dimensions, care in a home — the child's own, a non-relative's, or a relative's — provides features linked to quality care. However, in general, parents do not pay more for the features of child care associated with high quality in the child development literature. The authors discuss the implications of these results.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.