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Quantifying the Life-Cycle Benefits of a Prototypical Early Childhood Program

Author

Listed:
  • García, Jorge Luis

    () (University of Chicago)

  • Heckman, James J.

    () (University of Chicago)

  • Leaf, Duncan Ermini

    () (University of Southern California)

  • Prados, Maria José

    () (University of Southern California)

Abstract

This paper quantifies the experimentally evaluated life-cycle benefits of a widely implemented early childhood program targeting disadvantaged families. We join experimental data with non-experimental data using economic models to forecast its life-cycle benefits. Our baseline estimate of the internal rate of return (benefit/cost ratio) is 13.7% (7.3). We conduct extensive sensitivity analyses to account for model estimation error, forecasting error, and judgments made about the empirical magnitudes of non-market benefits. We examine the performance of widely used, ad hoc estimates of long-term benefit/cost ratios based on short-term measures of childhood test scores and find them wanting.

Suggested Citation

  • García, Jorge Luis & Heckman, James J. & Leaf, Duncan Ermini & Prados, Maria José, 2017. "Quantifying the Life-Cycle Benefits of a Prototypical Early Childhood Program," IZA Discussion Papers 10811, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10811
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Nathaniel Hilger & Emmanuel Saez & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach & Danny Yagan, 2011. "How Does Your Kindergarten Classroom Affect Your Earnings? Evidence from Project Star," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1593-1660.
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    12. Orazio Attanasio & Adriana Kugler & Costas Meghir, 2011. "Subsidizing Vocational Training for Disadvantaged Youth in Colombia: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 188-220, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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

    long-term forecasts; life-cycle benefits; early childhood education; childcare; rates of return;

    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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