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Blau, David M. (2000). The Production of Quality in Child-Care Centers: Another Look. Applied Developmental Science, 4(3), 136-148.


Data from the Cost, Quality, and Outcomes Study (Helburn, 1995) are used to examine the effects of group size, staff-child ratio, and teacher qualifications on the quality of child care provided in day care centers. The Cost, Quality, and Outcomes data are from a representative 4-state sample of day care centers with a design that makes it possible to control for unobserved differences across centers that could cause biased estimates of the effects of interest. The empirical results indicate that group size has small and statistically insignificant effects on child-care quality. A higher staff-child ratio appears to have beneficial effects on child-care quality when unobserved differences across centers are not accounted for. These effects become much smaller when unobserved differences are accounted for. The effects of teacher education and training are also generally not robust, but some measures of education and training have quantitatively and statistically significant effects even accounting for unobserved differences across centers. The implications of the results for future research on the determinants of child-care quality and for public policy are discussed.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Applied Developmental Science


Blau, David M.