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What happens when child care inspections and complaints are made available on the internet?

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NBER working paper no. w10227
Witte, Ann Dryden and Queralt, Magaly
Publication Date: 
1 Jan 2004

Available in print for order (see SOURCE) and online for download.

Excerpts from abstract: Paper provides substantial evidence that placing child care provider inspection and complaint reports on the internet changed the behavior of child care inspectors and improved the quality of child care received by low-income children. These results were forthcoming in part because: (1) the media widely reported the availability of this information on the Web, (2) the information was easy to locate and use and (3) the inspector's name and contact information appeared on the first page of the reports. After child care provider inspection and complaint reports were made available on the internet: (1) inspectors produce significantly more inspection reports and (2) inspectors became significantly more likely to provide mixed reviews of centers in the course of their routine inspections, finding that centers sometimes meet minimum standards and other times fail to do so. Controlling for time trends and other unobserved policy and economic changes, findings show that after inspection reports are made available on the Internet, there is a significant improvement in classroom environment and center management at centers serving low-income children with child care subsidies.