A Benefit-Cost Analysis of the Tulsa Universal Pre-K Program
Upjohn Institute Working Paper 16-261
65 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2016
Date Written: August 26, 2016
In this paper, benefits and costs are estimated for a universal pre-K program, provided by Tulsa Public Schools. Benefits are derived from estimated effects of Tulsa pre-K on retention by grade 9. Retention effects are projected to dollar benefits from future earnings increases and crime reductions. Based on these estimates, Tulsa pre-K has benefits that exceed costs by about 2-to-1. This benefit cost ratio is far less than the much higher benefit-cost ratios (ranging from 8-to-1 to 16-to-1) for more targeted and intensive pre-K programs, such as Perry Preschool and the Chicago Child-Parent Center (CPC) program. Comparing benefit-cost results from different studies suggests that our more modest estimates are due to two factors: 1) smaller percentage effects of pre-K on future earnings and crime in Tulsa than in Perry and CPC, and 2) smaller baseline crime rates in Tulsa than in the Perry and CPC comparison groups.
Keywords: Universal pre-K, benefit-cost analysis, grade retention, crime reduction effects of education, increased earnings effects of education
JEL Classification: I28, I26, H43
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation