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Understanding the Mechanisms through Which an Influential Early Childhood Program Boosted Adult Outcomes

  • James J. Heckman
  • Rodrigo Pinto
  • Peter A. Savelyev

A growing literature establishes that high quality early childhood interventions targeted toward disadvantaged children have substantial impacts on later life outcomes. Little is known about the mechanisms producing these impacts. This paper uses longitudinal data on cognitive and personality traits from an experimental evaluation of the influential Perry Preschool program to analyze the channels through which the program boosted both male and female participant outcomes. Experimentally induced changes in personality traits explain a sizable portion of adult treatment effects.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18581.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18581.

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Date of creation: Nov 2012
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Publication status: published as James Heckman & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter Savelyev, 2013. "Understanding the Mechanisms through Which an Influential Early Childhood Program Boosted Adult Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2052-86, October.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18581
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  1. Anderson, Michael L., 2008. "Multiple Inference and Gender Differences in the Effects of Early Intervention: A Reevaluation of the Abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training Projects," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103(484), pages 1481-1495.
  2. John Horn, 1965. "A rationale and test for the number of factors in factor analysis," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 179-185, June.
  3. James J. Heckman & Tim D. Kautz, 2012. "Hard Evidence on Soft Skills," NBER Working Papers 18121, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Louis Guttman, 1954. "Some necessary conditions for common-factor analysis," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 149-161, June.
  5. James J. Heckman & Seong Hyeok Moon & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter A. Savelyev & Adam Yavitz, 2010. "Analyzing Social Experiments as Implemented: A Reexamination of the Evidence From the HighScope Perry Preschool Program," NBER Working Papers 16238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Susanne Schennach & James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," 2007 Meeting Papers 973, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  8. James Heckman, 2011. "Policies to foster human capital," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 3, pages 73-137.
  9. Alexei Onatski, 2009. "Testing Hypotheses About the Number of Factors in Large Factor Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1447-1479, 09.
  10. Borghans Lex & Golsteyn Bart H.H. & Heckman James & Humphries John Eric, 2011. "Identification Problems in Personality Psychology," Research Memorandum 025, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  11. Heckman, James J. & Moon, Seong Hyeok & Pinto, Rodrigo & Savelyev, Peter A. & Yavitz, Adam, 2010. "The rate of return to the HighScope Perry Preschool Program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 114-128, February.
  12. Charles Crawford & George Ferguson, 1970. "A general rotation criterion and its use in orthogonal rotation," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 321-332, September.
  13. Joseph P. Romano & Michael Wolf, 2005. "Exact and Approximate Stepdown Methods for Multiple Hypothesis Testing," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 100, pages 94-108, March.
  14. Mathilde Almlund & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Tim D. Kautz, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," NBER Working Papers 16822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Robert Jennrich, 2006. "Rotation to Simple Loadings Using Component Loss Functions: The Oblique Case," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 71(1), pages 173-191, March.
  16. John Carroll, 1953. "An analytical solution for approximating simple structure in factor analysis," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 23-38, March.
  17. Clive R Belfield & Milagros Nores & Steve Barnett & Lawrence Schweinhart, 2006. "The High/Scope Perry Preschool Program: Cost–Benefit Analysis Using Data from the Age-40 Followup," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(1).
  18. R. Jennrich & P. Sampson, 1966. "Rotation for simple loadings," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 313-323, September.
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