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The Life-cycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program

December 1, 2016

This paper estimates the long-term benefits from an influential early childhood program targeting disadvantaged families.  The program was evaluated by random assignment and followed participants through their mid-30s. It has substantial beneficial impacts on health, children's future labor incomes, crime, education, and mothers' labor incomes, with greater monetized benefits for males.  Lifetime returns are estimated by pooling multiple data sets using testable economic models. The overall rate of return is 13.7% per annum, and the benefit/cost ration is 7.3.  These estimates are robust to numerous sensitivity analyses. 

Big Ideas for Children: Investing in Our Nation's Future

September 8, 2008

Compiles papers by experts in economics and children's public policy on policy proposals for investing in early childhood and education programs, reforming the healthcare system for children, and improving children's safety, well-being, and environments.

The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children: Working Paper 5, Invest in Kids Working Group

October 4, 2004

Education, perseverance and motivation are all major factors determining productivity, both in the workplace and beyond it. The family is a major producer of these skills, which are indispensable for successful students and workers. Unfortunately, many families have failed to perform this task well in recent years. This retards the growth in the quality of the labor force. Dysfunctional families are also a major determinant of child participation in crime and other costly pathological behaviors. On productivity grounds alone, it appears to make sound business sense to invest in young children from disadvantaged environments. An accumulating body of evidence suggests that early childhood interventions are much more effective than remedies that attempt to compensate for early neglect later in life. Enriched pre-kindergarten programs available to disadvantaged children on a voluntary basis, coupled with home visitation programs, have a strong track record of promoting achievement for disadvantaged children, improving their labor market outcomes and reducing involvement with crime. Such programs are likely to generate substantial savings to society and to promote higher economic growth by improving the skills of the workforce.

The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children: Working Paper 5, Invest in Kids Working Group - Executive Summary

October 4, 2004

Executive summary of "The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children: Working Paper 5, Invest in Kids Working Group" report. Includes findings and recommendations in brief.