Can Intensive Early Childhood Intervention Programs Eliminate Income-Based Cognitive and Achievement Gaps?

58 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2013  

Greg J. Duncan

Northwestern University - Institute for Policy Research; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Aaron J. Sojourner

University of Minnesota; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

How much of the income-based gaps in cognitive ability and academic achievement could be closed by a two-year, center-based early childhood education intervention? Data from the Infant Health and Development Program (IHDP), which randomly assigned treatment to low birth weight children from both higher- and low-income families between ages one and three, shows much larger impacts among low- than higher-income children. Projecting IHDP impacts to the U.S. population's IQ and achievement trajectories suggests that such a program offered to low-income children would essentially eliminate the income-based gap at age three and between a third and three-quarters of the age-five and age-eight gaps.

Keywords: human capital, skill formation, education, early childhood, government policy

JEL Classification: I2, J24, I3

Suggested Citation

Duncan, Greg J. and Sojourner, Aaron J., Can Intensive Early Childhood Intervention Programs Eliminate Income-Based Cognitive and Achievement Gaps?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7087. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2196752

Greg J. Duncan (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Institute for Policy Research ( email )

2003 Sheridan Rd
Evanston, IL 60208-2600
United States
312-467-1503 (Phone)
847-467-2459 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Aaron J. Sojourner

University of Minnesota ( email )

Carlson School of Management
321 19th Ave S, 3-300
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
6126249521 (Phone)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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