The Impact of Child Care Subsidies on Child Development

Publication Date


Grant Type

Early Career Research Award


This paper examines the impact of the spatial accessibility of social service agencies on the likelihood of receiving a child care subsidy among mothers with young children. In particular, the author collects data on the location of virtually every social service agency in the U.S. and uses this information to calculate the distance that families must travel from home in order to reach the nearest office that administers the subsidy application process. Using data from the Kindergarten cohort of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS-K), the results indicate that an increase in the distance to a social service agency reduces the likelihood that a family receives a child care subsidy. Specifically, the authors estimate an elasticity of subsidy receipt with respect to distance of -0.13.