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Breaking the Cycle of Deprivation: An Experimental Evaluation of an Early Childhood Intervention

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Author Info

  • Orla Doyle

    (School of Economics and Geary Institute, Univeristy College Dublin)

Abstract

Deprivation early in life has multiple long term consequences for both the individual and society. An increasing body of evidence finds that targeted, early interventions aimed at at-risk children and their families can reduce socioeconomic inequalities in children’s skills and capabilities. This paper describes a randomised control trial (RCT) evaluation of a five-year preventative programme which aims to improve the school readiness skills of socioeconomically disadvantaged children. The Preparing for Life (PFL) programme is one of the first studies in Ireland to use random assignment to experimentally modify the environment of high risk families and track its impact over time. This paper describes the design and motivation for the study, the randomisation procedure adopted and the baseline data collected. Using Monte Carlo permutation testing, it finds that the randomisation procedure was successful as there are no systematic differences between the treatment and control groups at baseline. This indicates that future analysis of treatment effects over the course of the five year evaluation can be causally attributed to the programme and used to determine the impact of Preparing for Life on children’s school readiness skills

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Geary Institute, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 201212.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 26 Apr 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:201212

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Related research

Keywords: Early childhood intervention; RCT; school readiness; permutation testing;

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References

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  1. Orla Doyle & Carly Cheevers & Sarah Finnegan & Louise McEntee & Kelly McNamara, 2009. "Report on Children's Profile at School Entry 2008-2009: Evaluation of the 'Preparing For Life' Early Childhood Intervention Programme," Working Papers 200924, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  2. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro, 2003. "Human Capital Policy," NBER Working Papers 9495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Orla Doyle & Louise McEntee & Kelly A. McNamara, 2010. "Skills, Capabilities and Inequalities at School Entry in a Disadvantaged Community," Working Papers 201014, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
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Cited by:
  1. Orla Doyle & Colm Harmon & James J Heckman & Caitriona Logue & Seong Hyeok Moon, 2013. "Measuring Investment in Human Capital Formation: An Experimental Analysis of Early Life Outcomes," Working Papers 201310, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.

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