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A benefit-cost analysis of the Tulsa universal pre-k program

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. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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