Preventing Child Maltreatment: Beneficial Side Effects of Public Childcare Provision


We investigate the impact of public childcare provision on the incidence of child maltreatment. For identification, we exploit a government reform that expanded early childcare in Germany, generating large temporal and spatial variation in childcare coverage at the county level. Using high-quality administrative data covering all reported cases of child maltreatment in Germany by county and year, our results show that an increase in childcare slots by one percentage point in a county led to a decline of 1.8% in child maltreatment cases. Our findings suggest that the provision of universal public childcare may be more cost-effective that previously thought.