A tale of two methods: Comparing regression and instrumental variables estimates of the effects of preschool child care type on the subsequent externalizing behavior of children in low-income families

Danielle A. Crosby, Chantelle J. Dowsett, Lisa Gennetian, Aletha C. Huston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We apply instrumental variables (IV) techniques to a pooled data set of employment-focused experiments to examine the relation between type of preschool childcare and subsequent externalizing problem behavior for a large sample of low-income children. To assess the potential usefulness of this approach for addressing biases that can confound causal inferences in child care research, we compare instrumental variables results with those obtained using ordinary least squares (OLS) regression. We find that our OLS estimates concur with prior studies showing small positive associations between center-based care and later externalizing behavior. By contrast, our IV estimates indicate that preschool-aged children with center care experience are rated by mothers and teachers as having fewer externalizing problems on entering elementary school than their peers who were not in child care as preschoolers. Findings are discussed in relation to the literature on associations between different types of community-based child care and children's social behavior, particularly within low-income populations. Moreover, we use this study to highlight the relative strengths and weaknesses of each analytic method for addressing causal questions in developmental research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1030-1048
Number of pages19
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Volume46
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010

Fingerprint

Child Behavior
Preschool Children
Child Care
preschool child
child care
low income
Least-Squares Analysis
regression
Social Behavior
Poverty
social behavior
Research
elementary school
Mothers
experiment
trend
teacher
community
experience

Keywords

  • Center-based care
  • Child care for low-income families
  • Estimating causal effects
  • Social behavior
  • Welfare reform

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

Cite this

A tale of two methods : Comparing regression and instrumental variables estimates of the effects of preschool child care type on the subsequent externalizing behavior of children in low-income families. / Crosby, Danielle A.; Dowsett, Chantelle J.; Gennetian, Lisa; Huston, Aletha C.

In: Developmental Psychology, Vol. 46, No. 5, 01.09.2010, p. 1030-1048.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{5c306bd99bbd4b14a041dd595e364ba0,
title = "A tale of two methods: Comparing regression and instrumental variables estimates of the effects of preschool child care type on the subsequent externalizing behavior of children in low-income families",
abstract = "We apply instrumental variables (IV) techniques to a pooled data set of employment-focused experiments to examine the relation between type of preschool childcare and subsequent externalizing problem behavior for a large sample of low-income children. To assess the potential usefulness of this approach for addressing biases that can confound causal inferences in child care research, we compare instrumental variables results with those obtained using ordinary least squares (OLS) regression. We find that our OLS estimates concur with prior studies showing small positive associations between center-based care and later externalizing behavior. By contrast, our IV estimates indicate that preschool-aged children with center care experience are rated by mothers and teachers as having fewer externalizing problems on entering elementary school than their peers who were not in child care as preschoolers. Findings are discussed in relation to the literature on associations between different types of community-based child care and children's social behavior, particularly within low-income populations. Moreover, we use this study to highlight the relative strengths and weaknesses of each analytic method for addressing causal questions in developmental research.",
keywords = "Center-based care, Child care for low-income families, Estimating causal effects, Social behavior, Welfare reform",
author = "Crosby, {Danielle A.} and Dowsett, {Chantelle J.} and Lisa Gennetian and Huston, {Aletha C.}",
year = "2010",
month = "9",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1037/a0020384",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "46",
pages = "1030--1048",
journal = "Developmental Psychology",
issn = "0012-1649",
publisher = "American Psychological Association Inc.",
number = "5",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - A tale of two methods

T2 - Comparing regression and instrumental variables estimates of the effects of preschool child care type on the subsequent externalizing behavior of children in low-income families

AU - Crosby, Danielle A.

AU - Dowsett, Chantelle J.

AU - Gennetian, Lisa

AU - Huston, Aletha C.

PY - 2010/9/1

Y1 - 2010/9/1

N2 - We apply instrumental variables (IV) techniques to a pooled data set of employment-focused experiments to examine the relation between type of preschool childcare and subsequent externalizing problem behavior for a large sample of low-income children. To assess the potential usefulness of this approach for addressing biases that can confound causal inferences in child care research, we compare instrumental variables results with those obtained using ordinary least squares (OLS) regression. We find that our OLS estimates concur with prior studies showing small positive associations between center-based care and later externalizing behavior. By contrast, our IV estimates indicate that preschool-aged children with center care experience are rated by mothers and teachers as having fewer externalizing problems on entering elementary school than their peers who were not in child care as preschoolers. Findings are discussed in relation to the literature on associations between different types of community-based child care and children's social behavior, particularly within low-income populations. Moreover, we use this study to highlight the relative strengths and weaknesses of each analytic method for addressing causal questions in developmental research.

AB - We apply instrumental variables (IV) techniques to a pooled data set of employment-focused experiments to examine the relation between type of preschool childcare and subsequent externalizing problem behavior for a large sample of low-income children. To assess the potential usefulness of this approach for addressing biases that can confound causal inferences in child care research, we compare instrumental variables results with those obtained using ordinary least squares (OLS) regression. We find that our OLS estimates concur with prior studies showing small positive associations between center-based care and later externalizing behavior. By contrast, our IV estimates indicate that preschool-aged children with center care experience are rated by mothers and teachers as having fewer externalizing problems on entering elementary school than their peers who were not in child care as preschoolers. Findings are discussed in relation to the literature on associations between different types of community-based child care and children's social behavior, particularly within low-income populations. Moreover, we use this study to highlight the relative strengths and weaknesses of each analytic method for addressing causal questions in developmental research.

KW - Center-based care

KW - Child care for low-income families

KW - Estimating causal effects

KW - Social behavior

KW - Welfare reform

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=77956747413&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=77956747413&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1037/a0020384

DO - 10.1037/a0020384

M3 - Article

C2 - 20822221

AN - SCOPUS:77956747413

VL - 46

SP - 1030

EP - 1048

JO - Developmental Psychology

JF - Developmental Psychology

SN - 0012-1649

IS - 5

ER -