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

63 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2009 Last revised: 5 Jul 2010

See all articles by James J. Heckman

James J. Heckman

University of Chicago - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); American Bar Foundation; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Seong Moon

University of Chicago - Department of Economics

Rodrigo R. Pinto

University of Chicago - Department of Economics

Peter A. Savelyev

College of William and Mary - Department of Economics

Adam Yavitz

University of Chicago - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2009

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. and Moon, Seong and Pinto, Rodrigo R. and Savelyev, Peter A. and Yavitz, Adam, The Rate of Return to the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program (November 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w15471. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1501456

James J. Heckman (Contact Author)

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Seong Moon

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

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Rodrigo R. Pinto

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Peter A. Savelyev

College of William and Mary - Department of Economics ( email )

Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
United States
7573788654 (Phone)

Adam Yavitz

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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