The Dynastic Benefits of Early Childhood Education

44 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2021

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)

Jorge Luis García

Clemson University - John E. Walker Department of Economics; University of Southern California - Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics

Frederik Bennhoff

University of Chicago - Center for the Economics of Human Development

Duncan Ermini Leaf

University of Southern California - Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 30, 2021

Abstract

This paper monetizes the life-cycle intragenerational and intergenerational benefits of the Perry Preschool Project, a pioneering high-quality early childhood education program implemented before Head Start that targeted disadvantaged African-Americans and was evaluated by a randomized trial. It has the longest follow-up of any experimentally evaluated early childhood education program. We follow participants into late midlife as well as their children into adulthood. Impacts on the original participants and their children generate substantial benefits. Access to life-cycle data enables us to evaluate the accuracy of widely used schemes to forecast life-cycle benefits from early-life test scores, which we find wanting.

Keywords: cost-benefit analysis, dynastic benefits, early childhood education, intergenerational program evaluation, life-cycle benefits

JEL Classification: J13, I28, C93, H43

Suggested Citation

Heckman, James J. and Garcia, Jorge Luis and Bennhoff, Frederik and Ermini Leaf, Duncan, The Dynastic Benefits of Early Childhood Education (June 30, 2021). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2021-77, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3877620 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3877620

James J. Heckman (Contact Author)

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Jorge Luis Garcia

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Frederik Bennhoff

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Duncan Ermini Leaf

University of Southern California - Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics ( email )

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