Childcare, Early Education and Social Inequality
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Childcare, Early Education and Social Inequality

An International Perspective

Edited by Hans-Peter Blossfeld, Nevena Kulic, Jan Skopek and Moris Triventi

Recognising that social change over recent decades has strengthened the need for early childhood education and care, this book seeks to answer what role this plays in creating and compensating for social inequalities in educational attainment.
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Chapter 12: Entry to formal childcare and abilities of preschoolers: A comparison of East and West Germany

Jan Skopek


This chapter contributes to research on the impact of centre-based care on child outcomes by comparing cognitive competencies of preschoolers in East and West Germany. While previous research was discussing differences in childcare arrangements across East and West Germany in terms of fertility, potential consequences for children’s development were largely ignored. Exploiting data from the German National Educational Panel Study, I am analysing (1) enrolment to centre-based child care and (2) its consequences for cognitive abilities of preschoolers at around age five in East and West Germany. The expectation that higher provision of centre-based child care in East Germany may give East German children a lead in early abilities found limited support. While previous assessments in school age consistently documented achievement gaps between East and West German children, my study provides hints that one cause may be the systematically earlier entrance to institutional care in East Germany. I conclude with several implications for further research and policy makers.

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