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

49 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2012 Last revised: 10 Apr 2022

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)

Rodrigo R. Pinto

University of Chicago - Department of Economics

Peter A. Savelyev

Virginia Commonwealth University - School of Business - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2012

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Heckman, James J. and Pinto, Rodrigo R. and Savelyev, Peter A., Understanding the Mechanisms Through Which an Influential Early Childhood Program Boosted Adult Outcomes (November 2012). NBER Working Paper No. w18581, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2183039

James J. Heckman (Contact Author)

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Rodrigo R. Pinto

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

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Peter A. Savelyev

Virginia Commonwealth University - School of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

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