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Understanding the Mechanisms through Which an Influential Early Childhood Program Boosted Adult Outcomes

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  • James Heckman
  • Rodrigo Pinto
  • Peter Savelyev

Abstract

A growing literature establishes that high quality early childhood interventions targeted toward disadvantaged children have substantial impacts on later life outcomes. Little is known about the mechanisms producing these impacts. This paper uses longitudinal data on cognitive and personality skills from an experimental evaluation of the influential Perry Preschool program to analyze the channels through which the program boosted both male and female participant outcomes. Experimentally induced changes in personality skills explain a sizable portion of adult treatment effects.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 103 (2013)
Issue (Month): 6 (October)
Pages: 2052-86

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:6:p:2052-86

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.6.2052
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References

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  1. Heckman, James J. & Kautz, Tim, 2012. "Hard Evidence on Soft Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 6580, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Lex Borghans & Bart H.H. Golsteyn & James J. Heckman & John Eric Humphries, 2011. "Identification Problems in Personality Psychology," NBER Working Papers 16917, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James Heckman, 2000. "Policies to Foster Human Capital," Working Papers 0028, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  4. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James J. & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 5500, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, 05.
  6. John Carroll, 1953. "An analytical solution for approximating simple structure in factor analysis," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 23-38, March.
  7. Robert Jennrich, 2006. "Rotation to Simple Loadings Using Component Loss Functions: The Oblique Case," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 71(1), pages 173-191, March.
  8. Anderson, Michael L., 2008. "Multiple Inference and Gender Differences in the Effects of Early Intervention: A Reevaluation of the Abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training Projects," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103(484), pages 1481-1495.
  9. Joseph P. Romano & Michael Wolf, 2005. "Exact and Approximate Stepdown Methods for Multiple Hypothesis Testing," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 100, pages 94-108, March.
  10. James J. Heckman & Seong Hyeok Moon & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter A. Savelyev & Adam Yavitz, 2010. "Analyzing Social Experiments as Implemented: A Reexamination of the Evidence From the HighScope Perry Preschool Program," Working Papers 201034, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  11. R. Jennrich & P. Sampson, 1966. "Rotation for simple loadings," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 313-323, September.
  12. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  13. John Horn, 1965. "A rationale and test for the number of factors in factor analysis," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 179-185, June.
  14. James J. Heckman & Seong Hyeok Moon & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter A. Savelyev & Adam Yavitz, 2009. "The Rate of Return to the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program," NBER Working Papers 15471, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Clive R Belfield & Milagros Nores & Steve Barnett & Lawrence Schweinhart, 2006. "The High/Scope Perry Preschool Program: Cost–Benefit Analysis Using Data from the Age-40 Followup," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(1).
  16. Alexei Onatski, 2009. "Testing Hypotheses About the Number of Factors in Large Factor Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1447-1479, 09.
  17. Louis Guttman, 1954. "Some necessary conditions for common-factor analysis," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 149-161, June.
  18. Charles Crawford & George Ferguson, 1970. "A general rotation criterion and its use in orthogonal rotation," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 321-332, September.
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