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From preschool to prosperity: The economic payoff to early childhood education
Bartik, Timothy J., 2014
Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

The plan of the book: Chapter 2 summarizes the empirical evidence that has led most researchers to believe that early childhood programs can affect adult outcomes. Chapter 3 compares adult earnings benefits from early childhood education with costs. Chapter 4 analyzes common criticisms made of the empirical evidence for early childhood education. Chapter 5 discusses how the benefits and costs of early childhood programs vary with program features, such as classroom quality, program duration, and the income of the child's family. Chapter 6 explores social benefits of early childhood programs. Chapter 7 outlines a specific early childhood proposal. Chapter 8 puts early childhood education in the context of past efforts to reform American education. In sum, this book argues the following: Many early childhood education programs have rigorous evidence for high benefit-cost ratios. We know something about what types of programs have the biggest bang for the buck, and how to improve program quality over time. Benefits of early childhood education are broad enough that taxpayer support is justified. Benefits of early childhood education are local enough to justify support by state and local governments. Early childhood education can play a significant role in an overall economic strategy to enhance U.S. economic growth and broaden economic opportunities. (author abstract)


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Is universal child care leveling the playing field?
Havnes, Tarjei, March, 2014
(Discussion Papers No. 774). Oslo, Norway: Norway, Statistisk sentralbyra (Norway, Statistics Norway).

We assess the case for universal child care programs in the context of a Norwegian reform which led to a large-scale expansion of subsidized child care. We use non-linear difference-in-differences methods to estimate the quantile treatment effects of the reform. We find that the effects of the child care expansion were positive in the lower and middle part of the earnings distribution of exposed children as adults, and negative in the uppermost part. We complement this analysis with local linear regressions of the child care effects by family income. We find that most of the gains in earnings associated with the universal child care program relate to children of low income parents, whereas upper-class children actually experience a loss in earnings. In line with the differential effects by family income, we estimate that the universal child care program substantially increased intergenerational income mobility. To interpret the estimated heterogeneity in child care effects, we examine the mediating role of educational attainment and cognitive test scores, and show that our estimates are consistent with a simple model where parents make a tradeoff between current family consumption and investment in children. Taken together, our findings could have important implications for the policy debate over universal child care programs, suggesting that the benefits of providing subsidized child care to middle and upper-class children are unlikely to exceed the costs. Our study also points to the importance of universal child care programs in explaining differences in earnings inequality and income mobility across countries and over time. (author abstract)

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Strengthening Pennsylvania businesses through investments in pre-kindergarten: How investments in early learning increase sales from local businesses, create jobs and grow the economy
Bishop-Josef, Sandra J., 2014
Harrisburg, PA: ReadyNation.

One of the keys to sustained economic growth in Pennsylvania is to generate additional sales of local goods and services, while also creating new jobs. That is why the Pre-K for PA campaign asked researchers from ReadyNation/America'sEdge to model the impact of significant expansion of Pennsylvania's high-quality pre-k system and its potential impact on the economy of the state and its major economic regions. This report documents that investments in early learning provide a significant, immediate economic boost for local businesses and help build stronger communities over the long term. (author abstract)

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Research Connections is supported by grant #90YE0104 from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents are solely the responsibility of the National Center for Children in Poverty and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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