Publication Details

Apps, P., Mendolia, S. & Walker, I. (2013). The impact of pre-school on adolescents' outcomes: Evidence from a recent English cohort. Economics of Education Review, 37 (2013), 183-199.


This paper investigates the relationship between attendance at pre-school school and children's outcomes into early adulthood. In particular, we are interested in: child cognitive development at ages 11, 14 and 16; intentions towards tertiary education; economic activity in early adulthood; a group of non-cognitive outcomes such as risky health behaviour; and personality traits. Using matching methods to control for a very rich set of child and family characteristics, we find evidence that pre-school childcare moderately improves results in cognitive tests at age 11 and 14, and 16. Positive effects are especially noticeable for girls and children from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. Results for non-cognitive outcomes are weaker: we do not find any significant evidence of improvement in psychological well-being, petty crime involvement, or on almost all health behaviours. While the cognitive effects may well serve to reduce lifecycle inequalities there is no support here for other important social benefits.

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