The Demise of State Run Child Care in Bulgaria: Causes and Implications
Working Paper No. 2004-04. 28 pages.
Childcare is often analyzed in its custodial function, as facilitating women’s labor force participation. But for pre-school aged children, childcare can also contribute importantly to human capital development, especially among poor children. By international standards, pre-school enrollments were high under socialism. Since transition, however, enrollment rates have declined. This may leave large numbers of children without preparation necessary to succeed in school, and to be included in the region’s post-socialist development. We examine changing dynamics of preschool childcare enrollments in Bulgaria. We evaluate demand- and supply-side explanations for falls in enrollments, and use municipal-level data to develop a simple, OLS model of municipal level demand for preschool. We examine the impact of changing employment and earnings, proximity and perceived quality of childcare centers, and ethnic/cultural background. Through this model, we hope to broaden understanding of preschool enrollments, and to assist policy makers in improving pre-school attendance.