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Long-term benefits of early childhood education on off-farm employment: evidence from rural China

/ 2024-03-20

Author:Yuhe Guo, Yalin Tang, Yunli Bai & Chengfang Liu

Paper journal:Asia Pacific Education Review (APER)

Abstract: This paper examines the long-term benefits of early childhood education (ECE) on off-farm employment of rural labors in China. Using panel data from the China Rural Development Survey, a nationally representative survey of 2000 rural households at 100 villages in 5 provinces, we employed two identification strategies (i.e., the FFE model and IV model) to overcome the endogeneity of ECE experience. Results show that individuals with any ECE (preschool) experience is 6–7 (7–8) percentage points more likely to engage in off-farm work at the first job than those without, while the impacts of kindergarten are insignificant. Conditional on being employed off-farm at the first jobs, ECE (including any ECE and preschool) has positive impacts on the probabilities of both being full-time off-farm employed and being employed outside of their home cities, but not on the probability of being self-employed. One possible mechanism underlying these research findings is that ECE significantly improves one’s educational attainment. We also find that most of these effects are more prominent for disadvantaged groups (females or individuals with less-educated parents).