Impacts of free childcare program on women's labor market outcomes, children's health, and development
Last registered on February 07, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Impacts of free childcare program on women's labor market outcomes, children's health, and development
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005401
Initial registration date
February 07, 2020
Last updated
February 07, 2020 1:36 PM EST
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
National University of Mongolia
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
CEDLAS-Universidad Nacional de La Plata-Conicet
PI Affiliation
National University of Mongolia
PI Affiliation
National University of Mongolia
PI Affiliation
National University of Mongolia
PI Affiliation
World Bank
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2017-08-01
End date
2019-09-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
In recent years, Mongolia has experienced significant growth in the total fertility rate. Meanwhile, a female labor force participation rate has fallen. In 2015, women's participation rate in Ulaanbaatar was 46.6, 8.8 percentage points lower than the national average. Childcare was the primary reason for inactivity among women with 2-year-old children. In 2016, 36.2% were inactive due to childcare. The demand for childcare facilities has increased dramatically in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia. Because of the excess demand for public childcare services, the public lottery has been used as an effective and fair means of allocation of available slots since 2016. The public lottery creates an opportunity to evaluate the impact of the universally free public childcare program using a natural experiment framework. We will conduct a baseline survey and two follow up surveys to examine short and medium-term impacts. We focus on three outcomes of interest for employment: employment, earnings, and job quality. We also want to investigate the effects of the program on children's health and development, since daycare centers have adequate infrastructure, is staffed by professional teachers and provides appropriate nutrition.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Altansukh, Gantungalag et al. 2020. "Impacts of free childcare program on women's labor market outcomes, children's health, and development." AEA RCT Registry. February 07. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5401-1.0.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The intervention is a universally free childcare service for 2-5 years old children across the country, which was initiated during the former socialist system. The targeted population of this intervention is households with 2-year old children. The program has objectives to improve children's cognitive and communication skills and to increase women's labor force participation. However, the enrollment to the program is non-mandatory.
The childcare service is provided throughout the academic year from September to May, five days a week, and eight hours a day. The government is a dominant provider of childcare service and fully subsidize public kindergartens. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sciences, and Sports (MECSS) is in charge of the overall design and implementation of the program.
We anticipate that mothers who are being inactive due to childbearing could benefit from this government intervention and increase their chances of participating in the job market. On the other hand, children's cognitive and communication skills, and health are expected to improve by exposing them to well-developed educational programs suited to their age group and adequate nutritious food.
The childcare service has been expanded rapidly in recent years. Nevertheless, the childcare service is highly demanded, with less than half of the eligible children are enrolled. Traditionally, free slots in public childcare centers were allocated on a first-come, first-served basis subject to eligibility criteria—permanent residential status and child age. However, in recent years, the demand for childcare services has increased dramatically in Ulaanbaatar, and the long queue outside the centers raised many issues. Hence, from 2016, the lottery was introduced to all public kindergartens with oversubscription.

A new online registration process was introduced in 2017. According to the newly established procedure, parents who want to enroll their children in public childcare centers should complete the online registration within a month between the end of July and the end of August. Then the public lottery is organized simultaneously at the centers with oversubscriptions, open to the public under the monitoring of the board consists of representatives of parents, teachers, and officials from the local administrative units.
Intervention Start Date
2017-09-01
Intervention End Date
2019-05-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Employment
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We look at several outcomes related to employment (current employment, employment in last year, seasonal employment, hourly wage, work hours, and formal employment). Current employment is a binary variable, equals 1 if a household member was employed in the last week for at least one hour or has a permanent job, or was employed in the private business. Employment in last year is a binary variable, equals 1 if household member satisfies the current employment condition plus if he/she employed for any job in the last year. Seasonal employment is a binary variable, equals 1 if household members worked 26 and fewer weeks in the last year. Hourly wage is the natural logarithm of the last month’s hourly wage when the survey is being conducted and zero for unemployed. Work hours are regular weekly work hours of respondents with a permanent job and zero for unemployed. Formal employment is measured as whether or not the respondent has a job with an employment contract.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Children's health
Children's development
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
We look at several outcomes related to children's health (number of cold/flu incidences, infectious disease, medication, and number of hospital visits). We will measure child development with total difficulties score (SDQ).
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
This study will evaluate the impact of free public childcare services on women’s labor market outcomes in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Comparable control and treatment groups necessary to estimate the effect of free public childcare services will be created using the public lottery run at childcare centers in August 2017.
We will use registration data of childcare centers provided by the Metropolitan Education Department of Ulaanbaatar. For each childcare center, we will collect information on the total number of available slots, the total number of applicants and information on which district the childcare center is located, and whether the childcare center should run a public lottery.

The baseline survey was administered between late August and October 2017. Also, we will use data from two households follow up surveys annually for two subsequent years.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Applicants who want to enroll their children in public childcare centers should complete an online registration process within a month between the end of July and the end of August. Then the public lottery is organized simultaneously at the centers with oversubscriptions, open to the public under the monitoring of the board consists of representatives of parents, teachers, and officials from the local administrative units-the public lottery run by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Randomization occurred at the level of the individual applicant to the free public childcare centers.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
N/A
Sample size: planned number of observations
We have planned to include 3500 applicants for the public childcare program.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
The sample size of the baseline survey was set at 3500 households with 2-year-old children of which we would assign 2300 to the treatment group and 1200 to the control group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Power calculations to determine sample size considered female employment as primary outcome. A sample size of 3500 would allow us to detect an increase of 7.4 percentage points in employment. We adjusted the sample for an estimated no show of 15% and contamination of 13%.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Partnership for Economic Policy Ethical Review Board
IRB Approval Date
2017-07-31
IRB Approval Number
No number associated
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
May 31, 2019, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
September 30, 2019, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
We have 3940 households with 2-year-old children.
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Yes
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
3940 households
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
1759 household in control and 2181 households in treatment
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
No
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers