Jason Baron, Joshua Hyman, Brittany Vasquez, 04 June 2022

Policymakers often propose better funding for public schools as an early intervention to reduce adult crime, yet little causal evidence of its effectiveness exists. This column uses novel data on over one million students in Michigan to study this relationship, finding that greater school funding has a large causal effect on the likelihood of adult arrest. This is most likely driven by the positive effects of greater school funding on school quality, including better paid and more experienced teachers, and is not due to peer effects. The increase in school funding pays for itself, creating social benefits that exceed the cost. 

Henning Hermes, Philipp Lergetporer, Frauke Peter, Simon Wiederhold, 07 December 2021

In many countries, children from families with lower socioeconomic status are less likely than those from higher socioeconomic status families to attend early childcare programmes. This column presents findings from a field experiment in Germany demonstrating that disadvantaged families have difficulties navigating the complex childcare application process, and providing information and personal assistance for applications can substantially reduce the socioeconomic gap in early childcare enrolment. To promote educational equality, policymakers should alleviate behavioural barriers to childcare and other formally non-selective social programmes.

Martha J. Bailey, Shuqiao Sun, Brenden Timpe, 06 June 2021

Preschool attendance in the US is largely funded by parents, which means that the children of more affluent and educated parents are more likely to attend.  This column looks at the impact of Head Star, a large-scale preschool programme that serves roughly 1 million children annually in the US. The results show that children age-eligible for Head Start went on to achieve substantially higher levels of education. Head Start also led to improvements in adult economic self-sufficiency. Overall, the findings suggest that a large-scale preschool programme – even one with less per-child expenditures than model preschools – can deliver long-run benefits to students.

Thomas Cornelissen, Christian Dustmann, 08 June 2019

Primary education starts at age 6 or 7 in most OECD countries, but in the UK children start primary school at the age of 4 or 5. This column exploits local variation in school entry rules in the UK to investigate the effects of schooling at an early age on cognitive and non-cognitive development. It finds that early schooling boosts both cognitive and non-cognitive skills up until the age of 11. These effects tend to be strongest for boys from disadvantaged family backgrounds.

Paola Giuliano, 22 February 2019

Why do girls do less well than boys in school math tests? Paola Giuliano of UCLA explains to Tim Phillips that, for many girls, the problem starts at home.

Jorge Luis García, James Heckman, Duncan Ermini Leaf, María Prados, 25 August 2017

The costs and benefits of early childcare for working women and their children are hotly debated. This column explores the long-term benefits and costs of a programme in the US providing high-quality childcare services for disadvantaged families. The programme has a two-generation impact, improving mothers’ labour income, work experience, and education, as well as outcomes for the children. The results also suggest that the benefits of high-quality compared to low-quality formal care are higher for boys than for girls. Overall, the benefits more than recoup the costs.

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Topics will include improving quality of Early Childhood care in the home and child-care centres; scaling-up ECD programs; process of skill formation over the course of childhood; long-run effects of early childhood investments.

Confirmed speakers:
J. Lawrence Aber (NYU)
Mariana Alfonso, (IDB)
Maria Caridad Araujo (IDB)
Orazio Attanasio (UCL and IFS)
Jere R. Behrman (Pennsylvania)
Raquel Bernal (Universidad de los Andes)
Prashant Bharadwaj (UC San Diego)
Pedro Carneiro (UCL and cemmap)
Gabriella Conti (UCL and IFS)
Yyannú Cruz-Aguayo (IDB)
Flávio Cunha (Rice)
Janet Currie (Princeton)
Professor Sir Ian Diamond (Aberdeen)
Sally Grantham-McGregor (UCL)
Sonya Krutikova (EDePo at IFS)
Karen Macours (Paris School of Economics)
Costas Meghir (Yale and IFS)
Scott Rozelle (Stanford)
Marta Rubio-Codina (IDB and International Research fellow, IFS)
Norbert Schady (IDB)
Essi Viding (UCL)
Hirokazu Yoshikawa (Steinhardt NYU)
This event is free to attend.

Sneha Elango, Jorge Luis García, James Heckman, Andrés Hojman, 12 January 2016

Adverse early childhood environments can have persistent effects. This column suggests that early childhood programmes have many beneficial effects, and their success should be evaluated on a multitude of outcomes. The returns to investing in the early lives of disadvantaged children in terms of social mobility and economic productivity are high – comparable to returns on equity investment.

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