Can Intensive Early Childhood Intervention Programs Eliminate Income-Based Cognitive and Achievement Gaps?
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
IZA Discussion Paper No. 7087
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 58
Keywords: human capital, skill formation, education, early childhood, government policy
JEL Classification: I2, J24, I3
Date posted: January 5, 2013