The Impact of Free Childcare on Women's Labor Market Outcomes, Children's Development and Health

Last registered on April 15, 2020


Trial Information

General Information

The Impact of Free Childcare on Women's Labor Market Outcomes, Children's Development and Health
Initial registration date
February 07, 2020

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
February 07, 2020, 1:36 PM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
April 15, 2020, 7:20 PM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

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
The World Bank

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
In recent years, Mongolia has experienced significant growth in the total fertility rate. The demand for childcare facilities has increased dramatically in Ulaanbaatar. Because of the excess demand for public childcare services, a public lottery has been used as an effective and fair means of allocating available slots since 2016. In this study, we 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.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Altansukh, Gantungalag et al. 2020. "The Impact of Free Childcare on Women's Labor Market Outcomes, Children's Development and Health." AEA RCT Registry. April 15.
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Experimental Details


The intervention is universally free childcare services for 2-5 years old children across the country. Childcare services are offered throughout the scholar year from September to May, five days a week, for eight hours a day. The program has objectives to improve children's cognitive and communication skills and to increase women's labor force participation. The government is the largest provider of childcare services and fully subsidizes public kindergartens. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sciences, and Sports (MECSS) is in charge of the overall design and implementation of the program.
Childcare services are highly demanded, with less than half of the eligible children are enrolled. To tackle the excess of demand, a lottery was introduced in all public kindergartens with oversubscription in 2016. This enables us to study the impact of universally free public childcare service on maternal employment, children's health and development, using a natural experiment framework.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We examine 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 a 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. We will also measure formal employment, which in Mongolia is defined by the existence of a written labor 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). The SDQ is a brief behavioral screening and psychological assessment tool for 2-17-year-olds. The questionnaire exists in several versions to meet the needs of researchers, clinicians, and educators and downloadable from the following link.

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 were 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?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
We have planned to include 3,500 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 3,500 households with 2-year-old children of which we would assign 2,300 to the treatment group and 1,200 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 3,500 would allow us to detect an increase of 7.4 percentage points in employment at the power of 92% for a significance level of 5%. We expect a 'no show' of 15% and a contamination of 13%.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Partnership for Economic Policy Ethical Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
No number associated


Post Trial Information

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Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
May 31, 2019, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Data Collection Completion Date
September 30, 2019, 12:00 +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?
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?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials