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Investing in Kids: Early Childhood Programs and Local Economic Development


  • Timothy J. Bartik

    (W.E. Upjohn Institute)


Early childhood programs, if designed correctly, pay big economic dividends down the road because they increase the skills of their participants. And since many of those participants will remain in the same state or local area as adults, the local economy benefits: more persons with better skills attract business, which provides more and better jobs for the local economy. Bartik measures ratios of local economic development benefits to costs for both early childhood education and business incentives. He shows that early childhood programs and the best-designed business incentives can provide local benefits that significantly exceed costs. Given this, states and municipalities would do well to adopt economic development strategies that balance high-quality business incentives with early childhood programs.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy J. Bartik, 2011. "Investing in Kids: Early Childhood Programs and Local Economic Development," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number iik, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:upj:ubooks:iik Note: PDF is the book's first chapter.

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua D. Angrist, 2001. "Consequences of Employment Protection? The Case of the Americans with Disabilities Act," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 915-957, October.
    2. Richard Burkhauser & Mary Daly & Andrew Houtenville & Nigar Nargis, 2002. "Self-reported work-limitation data: What they can and cannot tell US," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 39(3), pages 541-555, August.
    3. Kalamazoo & MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute & Andrew J. Houtenville & David C. Stapleton & Robert R. Weathers II & Richard V. Burkhauser & editors, 2009. "Counting Working-Age People with Disabilities: What Current Data Tell Us and Options for Improvement," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 1aa1fcf4f91a4de5b988924cf, Mathematica Policy Research.
    4. Thomas DeLeire, 2000. "The Wage and Employment Effects of the Americans with Disabilities Act," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 693-715.
    5. Gina A. Livermore & Peiyun She, "undated". "Limitations of the National Disability Data System," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 127579c4d256424cb645e0b97, Mathematica Policy Research.
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    Cited by:

    1. Liu, Hong & Zhao, Zhong, 2014. "Parental job loss and children's health: Ten years after the massive layoff of the SOEs' workers in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 303-319.
    2. Mark D. Partridge & M. Rose Olfert, 2011. "The Winners' Choice: Sustainable Economic Strategies for Successful 21st-Century Regions," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 33(2), pages 143-178.
    3. Greg J. Duncan & Aaron J. Sojourner, 2013. "Can Intensive Early Childhood Intervention Programs Eliminate Income-Based Cognitive and Achievement Gaps?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(4), pages 945-968.
    4. Timothy J. Bartik, 2014. "From Preschool to Prosperity: The Economic Payoff to Early Childhood Education," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number fptp, November.
    5. Francesca Froy, 2013. "Global policy developments towards industrial policy and skills: skills for competitiveness and growth," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(2), pages 344-360, SUMMER.
    6. Timothy J. Bartik & JOnathan A. Belford & William T. Gormley & Sara Anderson, 2016. "A Benefit-Cost Analysis of the Tulsa Universal Pre-K Program," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 16-261, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    7. Michelle Miller-Adams & Bridget Timmeney, 2013. "The Impact of the Kalamazoo Promise on College Choice: An Analysis of Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center Graduates," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 2013-014, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

    More about this item


    EDUCATION and TRAINING; Early childhood; Preschool and early education; REGIONAL ISSUES; Business incentives;

    JEL classification:

    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics


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