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The Rate of Return to the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program

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Author Info

  • James J. Heckman

    (Department of Economics, University of Chicago)

  • Seong Hyeok Moon

    (Department of Economics, University of Chicago)

  • Rodrigo Pinto

    (Department of Economics, University of Chicago)

  • Peter A. Savelyev

    (Department of Economics, University of Chicago)

  • Adam Yavitz

    (Economic Research Center, University of Chicago)

Abstract

This paper estimates the rate of return to the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program, an early intervention program targeted toward disadvantaged African-American youth. Estimates of the rate of return to the Perry program are widely cited to support the claim of substantial economic benefits from preschool education programs. Previous studies of the rate of return to this program ignore the compromises that occurred in the randomization protocol. They do not report standard errors. The rates of return estimated in this paper account for these factors. We conduct an extensive analysis of sensitivity to alternative plausible assumptions. Estimated social rates of return generally fall between 7–10 percent, with most estimates substantially lower than those previously reported in the literature. However, returns are generally statistically significantly different from zero for both males and females and are above the historical return on equity. Estimated benefit-to-cost ratios support this conclusion.

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File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/geary/static/publications/workingpapers/gearywp200936.pdf
File Function: First version, 2009
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Geary Institute, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 200936.

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Length: 61 pages
Date of creation: 13 Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:200936

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Keywords: rate of return; cost-benefit analysis; standard errors; Perry Preschool Program; compromised randomization; early childhood intervention programs; deadweight costs;

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  13. Barnett, W.S. & Masse, Leonard N., 2007. "Comparative benefit-cost analysis of the Abecedarian program and its policy implications," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 113-125, February.
  14. 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.
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  17. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
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  1. "A Post-Racial Strategy for Improving Skills to Promote Equality"
    by Mark Thoma in Economist's View on 2011-03-20 02:38:00
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