Does Preschool Attendance Matter to Children’s Long-Term Well-Being in China?
Di Xu, Columbia University
Xin Gong, Columbia University
Wen-Jui Han, New York University (NYU)
Using data from Chinese Family Panel Studies, a national survey that follows approximately 16,000 households in 25 provinces of China since 2010, this study examines the long-term effects of preschool attendance on child development in rural and urban China, for a national sample of 2857 teenagers aged 11-15. Utilizing multiple empirical strategies including OLS with rich controls (demographic characteristics, family socioeconomic indicators, and county-level variables), multi-level modeling, and propensity score matching, we found that preschool attendance had significant positive effects on cognitive development and social skills, in both rural and urban settings, in the OLS and multi-level modeling. Specifically, compared to children who did not attend preschools, children who did had significantly better academic scores and social skills. However, these effects tend to disappear in the propensity score matching estimates except for the significant results on social skills.