Does preschool attendance matter for the urban-rural cognition gap of middle school students?
(2.National Institute of Education Sciences)
(3.School of Education, Central China Normal University)
【Abstract】Cognitive abilities have great impact on individuals’ socioeconomic status. However, evidence of the effect of preschool education on urban-rural cognition gap from large-scale sample is almost nonexistent. Based on a nationally representative dataset from China Education Panel Survey, this study filled this gap by presenting evidence of significant cognition gap between urban and rural middle school students. We found a consistent positive relationship between preschool attendance and cognitive ability in Grade 7 and Grade 9, based on ordinary least squares and propensity score matching estimation. Results based on Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition suggest that the differences in preschool education experience between urban and rural students account for 28% to 44% of such cognition gap between group. We also simulated the intervention effects of preschool education development policy on narrowing urban-rural cognition gap.
【Keywords】 educational equity; urban-rural gap; preschool education; early childhood development; cognition gap;
. (1) Similar documents refer to the impact of preschool education on infants and children under the age of 10 as “short-term effect” and the impact on children over the age of 10 as “long-term effect” (Gong et al., 2016). [^Back]
. (2) In response to the revisions by reviewers, we have retrieved two related studies: Zhao et al. (2017) and Jiang (2017) both use CEPS data to find that there is a significant gap in cognitive ability between urban and rural students, but these two studies have not examined the contribution of preschool education to the cognition gap. [^Back]
. (3) For details, please refer to http://www.cnsda.org/index.php? r=projects/view&id=72810330 [^Back]
. (4) According to the variables derived from the types of student household registration provided by CEPS, “non-agricultural household registration” and “resident household registration” are merged into “non-agricultural household registration” to define “urban students” in this study; and the holder of “agricultural household registration” is defined as “rural students.” [^Back]
. (5) The sample size is 15,191 when analyzing the difference of kindergarten duration between urban and rural areas and the effect of kindergarten duration on cognitive ability. Since there are many missing values of this variable and the analysis of this variable is not the focus of this paper, we still use other variables without missing values as the qualification of sample in the analysis of most problems in this paper. [^Back]
. (6) In order to save space, only variables with statistically significant differences are briefly explained here. Detailed results are available upon request. [^Back]
. (7) The results here cannot be understood as the cognition gap of seventh-grade students will widen after two years (Grade 9), because the cross-sectional data are used here, the ninth-grade and seventh-grade students are not the same group of people, and strict tests require tracking data. Thank the reviewers for their suggestions. [^Back]
. (8) In order to save space, we did not report the inspection results in the eastern and central regions. [^Back]
. (9) In the CEPS survey, regardless of how many years of preschool education children have received or how old they enter the kindergarten, they are counted as “having received preschool education.” Therefore, the proportion of children have received preschool education according to this calculation is higher than the common gross kindergarten enrollment rate in national statistics. In order to save space, the gap between urban and rural areas in the eastern and central parts of the country has been omitted. [^Back]
. (10) To save space, the results of these models are omitted. [^Back]
. (11) Comparing the regression results of the two grades, the preschool education has obviously smaller effect on the urban sample in Grade 9 than the urban sample in Grade 7. We found that in the national urban sample in Grade 9, the average value of those variables with positive effects on cognition is higher than that in the sample in Grade 7, and the average value of those variables with negative effects on cognition is relatively lower. The positive effect of preschool education caused by this distribution is obviously offset by other variables in the Grade 9 sample. There are also differences in the distribution of rural samples across the country among grades, but there are relatively few variables with differences. In addition, in the rural sample in Grade 9, the distribution of some variables is conducive to cognition, while the distribution of some variables is opposite. Therefore, although the effect of preschool education in the rural sample in Grade 9 is smaller than that in the rural sample in Grade 7 , the difference is not very large. [^Back]
. (12) In order to save space, the prediction results of propensity score are omitted. [^Back]
. (13) These factors occur after the preschool education choice behavior, so they cannot be regarded as strict “reasons.” But we have reason to speculate that these factors may not change much with time. [^Back]
. (14) Most of the samples in the western rural areas in Grade 7 did not match successfully. Of the 1111 samples, 51 did not match successfully. [^Back]
. (15) To save space, the test results of data balance will be omitted. [^Back]
. (16) In addition to maintaining the distribution characteristics of various influencing factors in the model, it is also necessary to assume that the current proportion of urban and rural students remains unchanged. Thank the reviewers for pointing this out. [^Back]
. (17) The p-values of these coefficients are all 0.000. In order to save space, the specific results will be omitted. [^Back]
Becker, G. Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, with Special Reference to Education. Guo, H., Xiong, X. Wang, X. et al. (trans.) Beijing: CITIC Press, (2007).
Chen, C. & Liu, Q. Studies in Early Childhood Education (学前教育研究), (1) (2017).
Hu, A. Theoretical Foundation of Causal Inference in the Social Sciences (社会科学因果推断的理论基础). Beijing: Social Sciences Academic Press (China), (2015).
Huang, G. & Xie, Y., in Xie, Y. Zhang, X. Li, J. et al., China Family Panel Studies 2013 (中国民生发展报告2013). Beijing: Peking University Press, (2013).
Jiang, Q. Education & Economy (教育与经济), (6) (2017).
Li, C. Sociological Studies (社会学研究), (2) (2014).
Li, M., in Neuman, S., Changing the Odds for Children at Risk: Seven Essential Principles of Educational Programs That Break the Cycle of Poverty. Li, M. & Huo, L. (trans.) Beijing: Education Science Publishing House, (2011).
Li, M. & Zeng, X. Economic Perspectives (经济学动态), (11) (2012).
Liu, J. China Economics of Education Review (教育经济评论), (2) (2018).
Liu, J. Social Sciences in China (中国社会科学), (8) (2014).
Luo, R., Zhao, Q. He, M. et al. Studies in Early Childhood Education (学前教育研究), (1) (2009).
Pang, L., Hu, J. & Hong, X. Studies in Early Childhood Education (学前教育研究), (1) (2003).
Peng, J., Gao, Q. & Xiao, J. Studies in Early Childhood Education (学前教育研究), (7) (2011).
Tao, S., Liu, H. Zhou, C. et al. Journal of Psychological Science (心理科学), (1) (2015).
Wang, H., Wu, Y. & Huang, C. Youth Studies (青年研究), (6) (2017).
Wu, Y. Social Sciences in China (中国社会科学), (3) (2013).
Zhen, L. et al. 学前儿童认知发展与教育. Beijing: Beijing Normal University Press, (2016).
Almond, D. & J. Currie 2011a, “Human Capital before Age Five.” In D. Card & O. Ashenfelter (eds.), Handbook of Labor Economics (Vol. 4B). Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier.
Almond, D. & J. Currie 2011b, “Killing Me Softly: The Fetal Origin Hypothesis.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 25 (3).
Barker, D. J. 1990, “The Fetal and Infant Origins of Adult Disease.” British Medical Journal 301 (6761).
Blander, J., P. Gregg & L. Macmillan 2007, “Accounting for Intergenerational Income Persistence: Noncognitive Skills, Ability and Education.” The Economic Journal 117 (519).
Blau, D. & J. Currie 2006, “Pre-School, Day Care, and After-School Care: Who’s Minding the Kids.” In E. A. Hanushek & F. Welch (eds.), Handbook of the Economics of Education (Vol. 2). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Borraz, F. & A. Cid 2013, “Preschool Attendance and School-age Profiles: A Revision.” Children and Youth Services Review 35 (5).
Brookhart, M. A., S. Schneeweiss, K. J. Rothman, R. J. Glynn, J. Avorn & T. Stürmer 2006, “Variable Selection for Propensity Score Models.” American Journal of Epidemiology 163 (12).
Campbell, F. A. & C. T. Ramey 1995, “Cognitive and School Outcomes for High-risk African American Students at Middle Adolescence: Positive Effects of Early Intervention.” American Educational Research Journal 32 (4).
Cunha, F. & J. J. Heckman 2007, “The Technology of Skill Formation.” American Economic Review 97 (2).
Glewwe, P., Q. Huang & A. Park 2017, “Cognitive Skills, Noncognitive Skills, and School-to-Work Transitions in Rural China.” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 134.
Gong, X., D. Xu & W. Han 2016, “The Effects of Preschool Attendance on Adolescent Outcomes in Rural China.” Early Childhood Research Quarterly 37.
Hanushek, E. A. 2010, “Developing a Skill-based Agenda for ‘New Human Capital’ Research.” SSRN Electronic Research Paper (http://papers.ssrn.com/solз/papers.cfm?abstract_id= 1889200).
Heckman, J. J. 2006, “Skill Formation and the Economics of Investing in Disadvantaged Children.” Science 312(5782).
Heckman, J. J. 2007, “The Economics, Technology, and Neuroscience of Human Capability Formation.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104(33).
Heckman, J. J. 2013, Giving Kids a Fair Chance. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
Heckman, J. J., R. Pinto & P. Savelyev 2013, “Understanding the Mechanisms Through Which an Influential Early Childhood Program Boosted Adult Outcomes.” American Economic Review 103(6).
Heckman, J. J., J. Stixrud & S. Urzua 2006, “The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior.” Journal of Labor Economics 24(3).
Huang, G., Y. Xie & H. Xu 2015, “Cognitive Ability: Social Correlates and Consequences in Contemporary China.” Chinese Sociology Review 47(4).
Khor, N., L. Pang, C. Liu, F. Chang, D. Mo, P. Loyalka & S. Rozelle 2016, “China’s Looming Human Capital Crisis: Upper Secondary Educational Attainment Rates and the Middle Income Trap.” The China Quarterly 228.
Li, H., P. Loyalka, S. Rozelle & B. Wu 2017, “Human Capital and China’s Future Growth.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 31(1).
Li, H., P. Loyalka, S. Rozelle, B. Wu & J. Xie 2015, “Unequal Access to College in China: How Far Have Poor, Rural Students Been Left Behind?” The China Quarterly 221.
Liu, A. & Y. Xie 2015, “Influences of Monetary and Non-Monetary Family Resources on Children’s Development in Verbal Ability in China.” Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 40.
Luo, R., L. Zhang, C. Liu, Q. Zhao, Y. Shi, S. Rozelle & B. Sharbono 2012, “Behind before They Begin: The Challenge of Early Childhood Education in Rural China.” Australasian Journal of Early Education 37(1).
Magnuson, K. A. & G. J. Duncan 2016, “Can Early Childhood Interventions Decrease Inequality of Economic Opportunity?” The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences 1(2).
Magnuson, K. A. & J. Waldfogel 2005, “Early Childhood Care and Education: Effects on Ethnic and Racial Gaps in School Readiness.” The Future of Children 15(1).
Rao, N., J. Sun, J. Zhou & L. Zhang 2012, “Early Achievement in Rural China: The Role of Preschool Experience.” Early Childhood Research Quarterly 27.
World Bank 2011, “Early Childhood Development and Education in China: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty and Improving Future Competitiveness.” World Bank Report No. 53746-CN.
Xu, Hongwei & Yu Xie 2015, “The Causal Effects of Rural-to-Urban Migration on Children’s Well-being in China.” European Sociological Review 31(4).
Zhang, D., X. Li & J. Xue 2015, “Education Inequality between Rural and Urban Areas of the People’s Republic of China, Migrants’ Children Education, and Some Implications.” Asian Development Review 32(1).
Zhao, G., J. Ye, Z. Li & S. Xue 2017, “How and Why Do Chinese Urban Students Outperform Their Rural Counterparts?” China Economic Review 45.