You are here:

Daycare quality and regulation: A queuing-theoretic approach


Economics of Education Review Volume 17, Number 1 ISSN 0272-7757 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


Establishing national quality standards has become a central issue in the national debate about child care. Advocates of expanded regulation argue in favor of lower child–staff ratios, higher educational standards for caregivers, and smaller group sizes, but these tighter standards do not come without costs. We develop a formal model of the child care environment, concentrating on the impact that child–staff ratios, group size, and caregiver ability have on the amount of time children spend on-task and the intensity of caregiver–child interactions. The model clarifies the role of these variables and provides guidance concerning the potential costs and benefits of regulation. A major policy implication of this research is that regulation of child–staff ratios, group sizes and caregiver qualifications is too blunt an instrument for improving the overall quality level of child care. The model presented in this paper has wide application to other educational and related human services, since new technology makes it more economical to provide these services with individualized components. [JEL J13, J18, I21]


Mulligan, J.G. & Hoffman, S.D. Daycare quality and regulation: A queuing-theoretic approach. Economics of Education Review, 17(1), 1-13. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved December 2, 2020 from .

This record was imported from Economics of Education Review on February 1, 2019. Economics of Education Review is a publication of Elsevier.

Full text is availabe on Science Direct: