I study the effects of the Future to Discover Project, a randomized experiment in which Canadian high school students were either invited to participate in career planning workshops or were made eligible for an $8,000 college grant. By matching the experimental data to post-secondary institution records and income tax files, I am able to examine the effects of the interventions on college enrollment, graduation, and earnings in adulthood. I show that the career education intervention greatly improved students' outcomes in the long run by improving academic matching. In contrast, the college grant had no long-term monetary benefits despite increasing college enrollment, which is consistent with classical models of human capital investment in the absence of credit constraints. My findings suggest that informational frictions and behavioral obstacles–rather than financial constraints–represent the primary barrier to four-year college enrollment faced by low-income students. And that they explain a large part of the gap in four-year college enrollment between high- and low-income students.
In this paper, we measure parenting styles through unsupervised machine learning in a panel following children from age 5 to 29 months. The algorithm classifies parents into two distinct behavioral types: positive and negative. Parents of the positive type tend to respond to their children’s expressions in a supportive manner and describe to children features of their environment, while parents of the negative type are less likely to engage with their children in an encouraging manner. In the language of developmental psychology, positive parents exhibit both high warmth and control. Although types reveal some persistence, the share of parents with positive styles decreases with the age of the child. Overall, parenting styles are systematically related to socio-economic characteristics and positive parenting is more likely amongst educated mothers. Moreover, children of positive parents see their human capital improve relative to children of parents of the negative type.
We study potential unintended effects of a large-scale national conditional cash transfer program. By exploiting time and geographic (district) variation in administrative data on the roll-out of Peru’s Juntos program, we investigate the effects on women’s fertility outcomes and behaviour. We find that women in districts included in the rollout are likely to see a reduction in fertility at the intensive margin (number of children), with no effect on the extensive margin (any childbearing) and that the district rollout is associated with a 5 percentage point increase in the take-up of modern contraception, effects that persist over time. These effects are not present among non-eligible groups within targeted districts. The persistence of these fertility and contraceptive use effects up to six years after the introduction of Juntos suggest that the program may have had long term transformational impacts on non-conditioned outcomes. By exploring various mechanisms, we do not find evidence that fertility preferences were affected by the program. Our findings rather suggest that Juntos empowers women in taking control over their fertility.
This paper explores provincial variations in the pricing and provision of after-school care in Canada to study the effects of after-school care on maternal labor market outcomes. In 1998, the province of Quebec introduced a $5 per day subsidized before- and after-school care program for primary school children. Using the Canadian Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID), we adopt a triple-difference approach to compare the labor market outcomes before and after 1998 of mothers with primary school aged children versus childless women aged 50 and above who are ineligible for the program, in Quebec versus the Rest of Canada. Our results show that the reform effectively promotes maternal employment on the extensive margin but has no significant effect on employment intensity. In particular, maternal labor force participation and employment increased by 4.25 and 7 percentage points, respectively. These positive effects are driven by mothers with college degree and above, who increase their labor force participation and employment rates by 9.9 and 12 percentage points, respectively. Although the provision of lowcost pre-school childcare options has received much attention from policy makers, our findings indicate that low-cost after-school care is also important in promoting women labor force participation.