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

Author

Listed:
  • Heckman, James J.

    () (University of Chicago)

  • Moon, Seong Hyeok

    () (University of Chicago)

  • Pinto, Rodrigo

    () (University of California, Los Angeles)

  • Savelyev, Peter A.

    () (College of William and Mary)

  • Yavitz, Adam

    () (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.

Suggested Citation

  • Heckman, James J. & Moon, Seong Hyeok & Pinto, Rodrigo & Savelyev, Peter A. & Yavitz, Adam, 2009. "The Rate of Return to the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program," IZA Discussion Papers 4533, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4533
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    deadweight costs; cost-benefit analysis; standard errors; Perry Preschool Program; compromised randomization; rate of return; early childhood intervention programs;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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