Monday, August 6, 2012

[EQ] The Impact of Daycare Programs on Child Health, Nutrition and Development in Developing Countries

The Impact of Daycare Programs on Child Health, Nutrition and Development in Developing Countries:
a systematic review

Jef L Leroy, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC

Paola Gadsden, Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, México

Maite Guijarro, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, México

The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie)

Available online PDF [46p.] at:

“…..Urbanization and increases in female labor market participation have increased the demand for non-parental childcare in many low and middle-income countries. Especially in formal sector jobs, work and caring for one’s child cannot be combined. Government daycare programs currently under way in several developing countries seek to promote labor force participation through relieving one of the most pressing constraints faced by working parents, especially mothers, i.e. access to reliable and affordable childcare. Whilst there are a number of impact evaluations of day care interventions in developing countries, no systematic review of the literature has been conducted.

We conducted a systematic review of impact evaluations examining the impact of daycare interventions on the health, nutrition and development of children under five years of age in low- and middle-income countries. The second objective was to use a program impact theory approach to identify the pathways through which daycare may improve child outcomes.
The third and final objective was to review the available information on the demand for daycare services.

The review was restricted to intervention studies (defined as studies evaluating the impact of an exogenous change in daycare provision or utilization on child outcomes) using experimental or quasi-experimental methods (e.g. propensity score matching), as well as regression-based methods to control for potential self-selection of program participation. A comprehensive and systematic search of the unpublished and published literature dating back to 1980 was conducted. No language restrictions were imposed. Papers were excluded based on study scope, type and quality.

Only 6 studies (all conducted in Latin America) met our inclusion criteria. In general, large positive effects on measures of short and longer term child development were found. Due to inconsistent results, no conclusions can be drawn with respect to the impact on child health and nutrition. More rigorously conducted studies on the impact of daycare programs in low and middle income countries are needed. These should be conducted in a variety of settings and provide a clear description of the counterfactual care scenarios. Intermediary variables that help explain the pathways of impact need to be measured and taken into account in the analyses…”


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