Does preschool boost the development of minority children? The case of young Romas in Eastern and Central Europe

(2017), Journal of the Royal Statistical Society – Series A 180 Part II: 475-502 (with M. Huber)

Does universal preschool constitute an effective policy tool to promote the development
and integration of children from minority groups?We address this question for the children
of the Roma—the largest and most disadvantaged minority group in Europe.To tackle the issue
of non-random selection into preschool, we exploit variation in the individual distance to the
nearest preschool facility. Non-parametric instrumental variable estimations reveal significant
short-term gains in terms of children’s literacy. Preschool attendance also increases the prevalence
of vaccinations but has no effect on other observed health outcomes. Overall, preschool
also does not seem to enhance integration measured by children’s language proficiency or
social–emotional development, at least not in the short term.