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The Life-cycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program

Author

Listed:
  • Jorge Luis Garcia

    (The University of Chicago)

  • James J. Heckman

    () (The University of Chicago)

  • Duncan Ermini Leaf

    () (Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics)

  • Maria Jose Prados

    () (Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research)

Abstract

This paper estimates the large array of long-run benefits of an influential early childhood program targeted to disadvantaged children and their families. It is evaluated by random assignment and follows participants through their mid-30s. The program is a prototype for numerous interventions currently in place around the world. It has substantial beneficial impacts on (a) health and the quality of life, (b) the labor incomes of participants, (c) crime, (d) education, and (e) the labor income of the mothers of the participants through subsidizing their childcare. There are substantially greater monetized benefits for males. The overall rate of return is a statistically significant 13.0% per annum with an associated benefit/cost ratio of 6.3. These estimates account for the welfare costs of taxation to finance the program. They are robust to a wide variety of sensitivity analyses. Accounting for substitutes to treatment available to families randomized out of treatment shows that boys benefit much less than girls from low quality alternative childcare arrangements.

Suggested Citation

  • Jorge Luis Garcia & James J. Heckman & Duncan Ermini Leaf & Maria Jose Prados, 2016. "The Life-cycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program," Working Papers 2016-035, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2016-035
    Note: ECI
    as

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    File URL: http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/Garcia_Heckman_Leaf_etal_2016_life-cycle-benefits-ecp.pdf
    File Function: First version, December 11, 2016
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    File URL: http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/Garcia_Heckman_Leaf_etal_2016_life-cycle-benefits-ecp_r1.pdf
    File Function: Revised version, December 19, 2016
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Flèche, Sarah & Lekfuangfu, Warn & Clark, Andrew E., "undated". "The Long-Lasting Effects of Family and Childhood on Adult Wellbeing: Evidence from British Cohort Data," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1803, CEPREMAP.
    2. Daniela Del Boca & Chiara Monfardini & Sarah Grace See, 2017. "Government education expenditures, pre-primary education and school performance: A cross-country analysis," CHILD Working Papers Series 61 JEL Classification: J1, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA.
    3. Lastra-Anadón, Carlos & Muñiz, Manuel Antonio, 2017. "Technological change, inequality and the collapse of the liberal order," Economics Discussion Papers 2017-43, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    4. Diego Daruich, 2017. "From Childhood to Adult Inequality: Parental Investments and Early Childhood Development," 2017 Meeting Papers 770, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    childcare; early childhood education; gender differences; Health; long-term prediction; quality of life; randomized trials; substitution bias;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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