Short- and Long- term Effects of Universal Preschool: Evidence from the Arab Population in Israel
We estimate the short and long-term effects of universal preschool education by analyzing the impact of the Israeli Preschool Law, which mandated the provision of public preschool for ages 3 and 4 since 2000. We focus on the Arab population, who were the main beneficiaries of the first phase of the implementation of the Law, and exploit exogenous variation in universal preschool provision across localities due to the Law’s gradual implementation. Our difference-in-differences research design compares between cohorts of children in treated localities before and after the Law introduction relative to equivalent cohorts in comparison localities. We find that individuals benefitted from the provision of universal preschool along various dimensions: their academic performance in elementary, middle school, and high school improved significantly, and their post-secondary enrollment rates increased substantially. We also find beneficial effects of universal preschool on additional outcomes, such as a reduction in juvenile delinquency among boys and a decline in early marriage among women. A potential mechanism impacting long-term outcomes, was the creation of a better learning environment during elementary and middle school, with a greater sense of security and better relationships with teachers and classmates. These findings highlight the benefits of providing universal preschool education for disadvantaged communities.
תאריך עדכון אחרון : 03/04/2023