Early Childhood Education by MOOC: Lessons from Sesame Street

69 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2015 Last revised: 18 Jun 2015

See all articles by Melissa S. Kearney

Melissa S. Kearney

University of Maryland - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Phillip B. Levine

Wellesley College; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: June 2015

Abstract

This paper investigates whether preschool children exposed to Sesame Street when it began in 1969 experienced improved educational and labor market outcomes subsequently. We exploit geographic variation in broadcast reception derived from technological limitations, including distance to a broadcast tower and UHF versus VHF transmission. We relate this variation to Census data on grade-for-age status, educational attainment, and labor market outcomes in 1980, 1990, and 2000, respectively. The results indicate that Sesame Street improved school readiness, particularly for boys and children living in economically disadvantaged areas. The estimated impact on ultimate educational attainment and labor market outcomes is inconclusive.

Suggested Citation

Kearney, Melissa S. and Levine, Phillip B., Early Childhood Education by MOOC: Lessons from Sesame Street (June 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21229. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2615635

Melissa S. Kearney (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Phillip B. Levine

Wellesley College ( email )

106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02181
United States
781-283-2162 (Phone)
781-283-2177 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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