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

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Author Info

  • Heckman, James J.

    ()
    (University of Chicago)

  • Pinto, Rodrigo

    ()
    (University of Chicago)

  • Savelyev, Peter

    ()
    (Vanderbilt University)

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 traits 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 traits explain a sizable portion of adult treatment effects.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7040.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: American Economic Review, 2013, 103 (6), 2052-86
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7040

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Related research

Keywords: early childhood interventions; human development; human capital; factor analysis; academic motivation; externalizing behavior; personality traits; cognitive traits; social experiments; Perry Preschool program; experimentally estimated production functions;

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References

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  1. Joseph Romano & Michael Wolf, 2003. "Exact and approximate stepdown methods for multiple hypothesis testing," Economics Working Papers, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra 727, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  2. Alexei Onatski, 2009. "Testing Hypotheses About the Number of Factors in Large Factor Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1447-1479, 09.
  3. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, 05.
  4. Borghans, Lex & Golsteyn, Bart H. H. & Heckman, James & Humphries, John Eric, 2011. "Identification Problems in Personality Psychology," Working Paper Series, Swedish Institute for Social Research 5/2011, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  5. John Horn, 1965. "A rationale and test for the number of factors in factor analysis," Psychometrika, Springer, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 179-185, June.
  6. James J. Heckman & Tim D. Kautz, 2012. "Hard Evidence on Soft Skills," NBER Working Papers 18121, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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).
  8. James J. Heckman, 1999. "Policies to Foster Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 7288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Heckman, James J. & Moon, Seong Hyeok & Pinto, Rodrigo & Savelyev, Peter A. & Yavitz, Adam, 2010. "The rate of return to the HighScope Perry Preschool Program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 114-128, February.
  10. Louis Guttman, 1954. "Some necessary conditions for common-factor analysis," Psychometrika, Springer, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 149-161, June.
  11. 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, American Statistical Association, vol. 103(484), pages 1481-1495.
  12. Mathilde Almlund & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Tim D. Kautz, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," NBER Working Papers 16822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. John Carroll, 1953. "An analytical solution for approximating simple structure in factor analysis," Psychometrika, Springer, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 23-38, March.
  14. 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).
  15. Robert Jennrich, 2006. "Rotation to Simple Loadings Using Component Loss Functions: The Oblique Case," Psychometrika, Springer, Springer, vol. 71(1), pages 173-191, March.
  16. James Heckman & Seong Hyeok Moon & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter Savelyev & Adam Yavitz, 2010. "Analyzing social experiments as implemented: A reexamination of the evidence from the HighScope Perry Preschool Program," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 1(1), pages 1-46, 07.
  17. R. Jennrich & P. Sampson, 1966. "Rotation for simple loadings," Psychometrika, Springer, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 313-323, September.
  18. Charles Crawford & George Ferguson, 1970. "A general rotation criterion and its use in orthogonal rotation," Psychometrika, Springer, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 321-332, September.
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