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An Analysis of the Memphis Nurse-Family Partnership Program

Author

Listed:
  • James J. Heckman
  • Margaret L. Holland
  • Kevin K. Makino
  • Rodrigo Pinto
  • Maria Rosales-Rueda

Abstract

This paper evaluates a randomized controlled trial of the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program conducted in Memphis, TN in 1990. NFP offers home visits conducted by nurses for disadvantaged first-time mothers during pregnancy and early childhood. We test NFP treatment effects using permutation-based inference that accounts for the NFP randomization protocol. Our methodology is valid for small samples and corrects for multiple-hypothesis testing. We also analyze the underlying mechanisms generating these treatment effects. We decompose NFP treatment effects into components associated with the intervention-enhanced parenting and early childhood skills. The NFP improves home investments, parenting attitudes and mental health for mothers of infants at age 2. At age 6, the NFP boosts cognitive skills for both genders and socio-emotional skills for females. These treatment effects are explained by program-induced improvements in maternal traits and early-life family investments. At age 12, the treatment effects for males (but not for females) persist in the form of enhanced achievement test scores. Treatment effects are largely explained by enhanced cognitive skills at age 6. Our evidence of pronounced gender differences in response to early childhood interventions contributes to a growing literature on this topic.

Suggested Citation

  • James J. Heckman & Margaret L. Holland & Kevin K. Makino & Rodrigo Pinto & Maria Rosales-Rueda, 2017. "An Analysis of the Memphis Nurse-Family Partnership Program," NBER Working Papers 23610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23610
    Note: CH HC HE PE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet, 2011. "Human Capital Development before Age Five," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    2. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J., 2007. "Identifying and Estimating the Distributions of Ex Post and Ex Ante Returns to Schooling," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 870-893, December.
    3. Janet Currie & Enrico Moretti, 2007. "Biology as Destiny? Short- and Long-Run Determinants of Intergenerational Transmission of Birth Weight," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 231-264.
    4. 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.
    5. 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 2052-2086, October.
    6. Orla Doyle, 2017. "The First 2,000 Days and Child Skills: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment of Home Visiting," Working Papers 201715, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    7. Freedman, David & Lane, David, 1983. "A Nonstochastic Interpretation of Reported Significance Levels," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 1(4), pages 292-298, October.
    8. James Heckman & Seong Hyeok Moon & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter Savelyev & Adam Yavitz, 2010. "Analyzing social experiments as implemented: A reexamination of the evidence from the HighScope Perry Preschool Program," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(1), pages 1-46, July.
    9. Diane Paulsell & Sarah Avellar & Emily Sama Martin & Patricia Del Grosso, 2010. "Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness Review: Executive Summary," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 5254a2ab30e146ce900220dbc, Mathematica Policy Research.
    10. repec:mpr:mprres:6938 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Janet Currie & Maya Rossin‐Slater, 2015. "Early‐Life Origins of Life‐Cycle Well‐Being: Research and Policy Implications," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 34(1), pages 208-242, January.
    12. repec:mpr:mprres:7046 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Sandner, Malte & Cornelissen, Thomas & Jungmann, Tanja & Herrmann, Peggy, 2018. "Evaluating the effects of a targeted home visiting program on maternal and child health outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 269-283.
    2. Malte Sandner, 2015. "Effects of Early Childhood Intervention on Fertility and Maternal Employment: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 799, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C5 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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