Empirical Economics

, Volume 52, Issue 4, pp 1181–1204 | Cite as

Extracurricular educational programs and school readiness: evidence from a quasi-experiment with preschool children

  • Anna Makles
  • Kerstin SchneiderEmail author


This paper adds to the literature on extracurricular early childhood education and child development by exploiting unique data on an educational project in Germany, the Junior University (JU). Utilizing a quasi-experimental study design, we estimate the causal short-run effect of JU enrollment on ability measures and show that attending extra science courses with preschool classes leads to significantly higher school readiness. Attending classes at JU increases school readiness by approximately 2.18 percentage points which corresponds to 1/5 of a standard deviation of the ability score. The result passes various robustness checks.


Early childhood education Extracurricular activities Early interventions School readiness 

JEL Classification

I20 I21 I28 J13 



We would like to thank two anonymous reviewers and the editor for helpful comments and suggestions. We also thank the health office of the city of Wuppertal for making the SEnMed data available to us. The local statistics office supported our work with regional data and advice. This research was partly funded by the Stiftung Mercator GmbH, Essen, whose support is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wuppertal Research Institute for the Economics of Education (WIB)University of WuppertalWuppertalGermany

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