Professors to Study Effects of State Mandatory Kindergarten Requirements on Long-Run Educational Attainment and Labor Market Outcomes
Assistant Professors Maria Rosales-Rueda and Jade Marcus Jenkins have received a $75,000 grant from the ESSPRI Center (UCI School of Social Sciences Economic Self-Sufficiency Policy Research Institute). They will be continuing their exploration of the returns of an additional year of schooling in the case of state-mandated kindergarten. Specifically, they will be examining the effects of state mandatory kindergarten requirements on long-run educational attainment and labor market outcomes.
Dr. Rosales-Rueda studies human capital, health, development economics and applied econometrics. Dr. Jenkins’ work focuses on issues that are amenable to policy intervention, using diverse methods to evaluate program effects and make causal inferences.
While in most states kindergarten began as a voluntary program, starting in the 1970s some states evolved to mandating kindergarten attendance. Several changes in state mandatory school entrance laws across—and in some instances, within—states over time provide an opportunity to causally identify the influence of an additional year of ECE on important individual education and labor market outcomes, comparing states with mandatory attendance to those with voluntary attendance. We exploit this natural experiment design using data from the Census and ACS 2000-2015. Our results will shed light shed light on the anticipated impact of universal prekindergarten programs given the national trend towards preschool for all.