Barnett, W. Steven and Belfield, Clive R. (2006): Early childhood development and social mobility. Published in: The Future of Children , Vol. 16, No. 2 (October 2006): pp. 73-98.
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Steven Barnett and Clive Belfield examine the effects of preschool education on social mobility in the United States. They note that under current policy three- and four-year-old children from economically and educationally disadvantaged families have higher preschool attendance rates than other children. But current programs fail to enroll even half of poor three-and four-year olds. Hispanics and children of mothers who drop out of school also participate at relatively low rates. The programs also do little to improve learning and development. Barnett and Belfield point out that preschool programs raise academic skills on average, but do not appear to have notably different effects for different groups of children, and so do not strongly enhance social mobility. In such areas as crime, welfare, and teen parenting, however, preschool seems more able to break links between parental behaviors and child outcomes. Increased investment in preschool, conclude Barnett and Belfield, could raise social mombility. Program expansions targeted to disadvantaged children would help them move up the ladder, as would a more universal set of policies from which disadvantaged children gained disproportionately. Increasing the educational effectiveness of early childhood programs would provide for greater gains in social mobility than increasing participation rates alone. The authors observe that if future expansions of preschool programs end up serving all children, not just the poorest, society as a whole would gain. Benefits would exceed costs and there would be more economic growth, but relative gains for disadvantaged children would be smaller than absolute gains because there would be some (smaller) benefits to other children.
|Item Type:||MPRA Paper|
|Institution:||The Brookings Institution|
|Original Title:||Early childhood development and social mobility|
|Keywords:||early childhood education; social mobility; benefit/cost analyses; income disparity; disadvantaged children|
|Subjects:||I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I2 - Education and Research Institutions > I28 - Government Policy
H - Public Economics > H3 - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents > H31 - Household
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J6 - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
|Depositing User:||W. Steven Barnett|
|Date Deposited:||16. Nov 2006|
|Last Modified:||11. May 2015 13:04|
1. See Jack Shonkoff and Deborah Phillips, From Neurons to Neighborhoods: the Science of Early Childhood Development (Washington: National Academy Press, 2000); Donald Rock and A. Jackson Stenner, “Assessment Issues in the Testing Of Children at School Entry” The Future of Children 15, no. 1 (2005): 15-34.
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4. W. Steven Barnett and Donald J. Yarosz, Who goes to preschool and why does it matter? Preschool Policy Matters, No. 7, (New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research (2004).
5. Debra J. Ackerman, W. Steven Barnett, and Kenneth Robin, “Making the Most of Kindergarten: Present Trends and Future Issues in the Provision of Full-day Programs,” NIEER Policy Report, March 2005, http://nieer.org/docs/index.php?DocID=118 (accessed April 13, 2006).
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8. We analyzed data from the 2001 National Household Education Survey for reported Head Start attendance by income. Although there appears to be substantial error in reported Head Start participation, those whose participation can be verified do not significantly differ in income from those whose participation cannot be verified. Mary Hagedorn, Jill Montaquila, Mary Jo Nolin, Kwang Kim, Brian Kleiner, Tiffany Waits, Christopher Chapman, and Kathryn Chandler, National Household Education Surveys Program of 2001: Data Files and Electronic Codebook (NCES 2003078), (Washington, DC: US Department of Education, 2003). 9. W. Steven Barnett, Kirsty Brown, & Rima Shore, “The Universal vs Targeted Debate: Should the United States have Preschool for All?,” Preschool Policy Matters, 6 (New Brunswick, NJ: NIEER).
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5. Steven Barnett and Donald Yarosz (2004). “Who goes to preschool and why does it matter?”, (see note 4).
6. Steven Barnett and Donald Yarosz (2004). “Who goes to preschool and why does it matter?”, (see note 4).
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22. Robert St. Pierre, Jean Layzer, and Helen Barnes, “Regenerating Two-Generation Programs,” in Early Care and Education for Children in Poverty: Promises, Programs, and Long-Term Results, edited by W. Steven Barnett and Sarane Boocock (Albany: SUNY Press, 1998), pp.99-121.
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29. NICHD Early Child Care Research Network, “Early Child Care and Children's Development Prior to School Entry,” Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Minneapolis, Minn, April 2001; NICHD Early Child Care Research Network, “Further Explorations of the Detected Effects of Quantity of Early Child Care on Socioemotional Development,” Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Minneapolis, Minn., April 2001.
30. Eliana Garces, Duncan Thomas, and Janet Currie, “Longer-term Effects of Head Start,” American Economic Review 92 (2002): 999-1012.
3 . John Love and others, Early Head Start Research---Building Their Futures: How Early Head Start Programs Are Enhancing the Lives of Infants and Toddlers in Low-Income Families (Princeton, N.J.: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc, 2001).
32. William Gormley and Ted Gayer, Deborah Phillips, and Brittany Dawson “The Effects of Universal Pre-K on Cognitive Development,” Developmental Psychology 41, 6 (2005): 533-58.
33. W. Steven Barnett, Cynthia Lamy, and Kwanghee Jung, “The Effects of State Prekindergarten Programs on Young Children’s School Readiness in Five States,” (http://nieer.org/docs/index.php?DocID=129 [February 13, 2006]). 34. Studies relying on the ECLS-K, however, should be viewed cautiously as they must infer type of program from the terms parents choose to describe them (prekindergarten may include some ordinary child care) and have limited means for adjusting for the reasons why parents select programs. The ECLS-K data also suffer from attrition of test score information over time.
35. Frances Campbell, Elizabeth Pungello, Shari Miller-Johnson, Margaret Burchinal, and Craig Ramey, “The Development of Cognitive and Academic Abilities: Growth Curves from an Early Childhood Educational Experiment,” Developmental Psychology
37 (2) (2001):231-242; Larry Schweinhart, Jeanne Montie, Zongping Xiang, W. Steven Barnett, Clive Belfield, and Milagros Nores, Lifetime Effects: The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40 (Monographs of the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, 14) ( Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, 2005). 36. In studies from before 1985, the estimates might be somewhat larger because the control group had little access to alternative services. But even in the Abecedarian study by Barnett and Masse, the control group had considerable access to center-based child care, so that change in control group experience is unlikely to have much influence on comparisons to more recent studies.
37. Barnett, W.S. “Early childhood education,” in School Reform Proposals: The Research Evidence edited by Alex Molnar (Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing, 2002): pp.1-26.
38. Jean Larsen and Clyde Robinson, “Later Effects of Preschool on Low-Risk Children,” Early Childhood Research Quarterly 4 (1989): 133-44.
39. Craig Ramey, Donna Bryant, and Tanya Suarez, “Preschool Compensatory Education and the Modifiability of Intelligence: A Critical Review,” in Current Topics in Human Intelligence, edited by Douglas Detterman (Norwood, N.J.: Ablex, 1986), pp. 247-96; Martin Woodhead, “When Psychology Informs Public Policy: The Case of Early Childhood Intervention,” American Psychologist 43 (1988): 443-54; Ron Haskins, “Beyond Metaphor: The Efficacy of Early Childhood Education,” American Psychologist 44 (1989): 274-82; Charles Locurto, “Beyond IQ in Preschool Programs?” Intelligence 15 (1991): 295-312; Herman Spitz, “Commentary on Locurto’s ‘Beyond IQ in Preschool Programs?’” Intelligence 15 (1991): 327-33.
40. Frances Campbell and Craig Ramey, “Cognitive and School Outcomes for High-Risk African American Students at Middle Adolescence: Positive Effects at Early Intervention,” American Educational Research Journal 32 (1995): 743-72; Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Jane Waldfogel, and Wen-Jui Han, “Maternal Employment and Child Outcomes in the First Three Years of Life: the NICHD Study of Early Childcare,” Child Development 73 (2002): 1052-72.
4 . W. Steven Barnett, “Long-Term Effects on Cognitive Development and School Success,” in Early Care and Education for Children in Poverty: Promises, Programs, and Long-Term Outcomes, edited by. W. Steven Barnett and Sarane Boocock (Buffalo: State University of New York Press, 1998), pp.11-44; Janet Currie, “Early Childhood Programs,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 15 (2001): 213-38.
42. Anne McGill-Franzen and Richard Allington, “Flunk ‘em or Get Them Classified: The Contamination of Primary Grade Accountability Data,” Educational Researcher 22, no. 1 (1993): 19-22.
43. W. Steven Barnett and Greg Camilli, “Compensatory Preschool Education, Cognitive Development, and ‘Race’,” in Race and Intelligence: Separating Science from Myth, edited by Jeff Fish (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002): 368-406.
44. W. Steven Barnett, John Young, and Larry Schweinhart, “How Preschool Education Influences Long-term Cognitive Development and School Success,” in Early Care and Education for Children in Poverty, edited by W. Steven Barnett and Sarane Boocock (State University of New York Press, 1998).
45. W. Steven Barnett, “Preschool Education for Economically Disadvantaged Children: Effects on Reading Achievement and Related Outcomes,” in Handbook of Early Literacy Research, edited by Susan Neuman and David Dickinson (New York: Guilford Press, 2001), pp. 421-43.
46. Steve Barnett, “Long-Term Effects of Early Childhood Programs on Cognitive and School Outcomes,” The Future of Children 5, no. 3 (1995): 25-50; Hiro Yoshikawa, “Prevention as Cumulative Protection: Effects of Early Family Support and Education on Chronic Delinquency and Its Risks,” Psychological Bulletin 115 (1994): 27-54.
47. Arthur Reynolds and others, “Long-term Effects of an Early Childhood Intervention on Educational Achievement and Juvenile Arrest: A 15-year Follow-Up of Low-Income Children in Public Schools,” Journal of the American Medical Association 285 (2001): 2339-46; Dale Johnson and Todd Walker, “A Follow-up Evaluation of the Houston Parent Child Development Center: School Performance,” Journal of Early Intervention 15, no. 3 (1991): 226-36; Clive Belfield and others, “Cost-Benefit Analysis of the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program Using Age 40 Follow-Up Data,” Journal of Human Resources XLI (2006): 162-91.
48. Victoria Seitz and Nancy Apfel, “Parent-Focused Intervention: Diffusion Effects on Siblings,” Child Development 56 (1994): 376-91.
49. W. Steven Barnett and Leonard Masse, “Comparative Benefit-Cost Analysis of the Abecedarian Program and its Policy Implications,” Economics of Education Review, (in press).
50. Garces, Currie, and Thomas, “Longer-Term Effects of Head Start” (see note 15).
5 . Richard Murnane and Barbara. Phillips, “What Do Effective Teachers of Inner-City Children Have in Common?” Social Science Research 10 (1981): 83-100; Ronald Ferguson, “Can Schools Narrow the Black-White Test Score Gap?” in The Black-White Test Score Gap, edited by Christopher Jencks and Meredith Phillips (Brookings Press, 1998) pp. 318-74; Alison Clarke-Stewart, Christian Gruber, and Linda Fitzgerald, Children at Home and in Day Care (Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1994); Carollee Howes and Michael Olenick, “Child Care and Family Influences on Toddlers’ Compliance,” Child Development 57 (1986): 202-16; Marcy Whitebook, Deborah Phillips, and Carollee Howes, National Child Care Staffing Study Revisited: Four Years in the Life of Center-Based Child Care (Oakland, Calif.: Child Care Employee Project, 1993); Carollee Howes, “Children’s Experiences in Center-Based Child Care as a Function of Teacher Background and Adult-Child Ratio,” Merrill-Palmer Quarterly 43, no. 3 (1997): 404-25; Leslie Phillipsen and others, “The Prediction of Process Quality from Structural Features of Child Care,” Early Childhood Research Quarterly 12 (1997): 281-304; Barbara Bowman, M. Suzanne Donovan, and Susan Burns, eds., Eager to Learn: Educating our Preschoolers (Washington: National Academy Press, 2001).
52. Harry McGurk and others, Staff-Child Ratios in Care and Education Services for Young Children (London: HMSO, 1995); Jean Layzer, Barbara Goodson, and Marc Moss, Life in Preschool-Volume One of an Observational Study of Early Childhood Programs for Disadvantaged Four-Year-Olds: Final Report (Cambridge, Mass.: Abt Associates, 1993); Susan Kontos, Carollee Howes, and Ellen Galinsky, “Does Training Make a Difference to Quality in Family Child Care,” Early Childhood Research Quarterly 12 (1997): 351-72; Ann Smith, “Quality Child Care and Joint Attention,” International Journal of Early Years Education 7, no. 1 (1999): 85-98; Charles Achilles, Patrick Harman, and Paula Egelson, “Using Research Results on Class Size to Improve Pupil Achievement Outcomes,” Research in the Schools 2, no. 2 (1995): 23-30; Harold Wenglinsky, “How Money Matters: The Effect of School District Spending on Academic Achievement,” Sociology of Education, 70, no. 3 (1997): 377-99; Fred Mosteller, “The Tennessee Study of Class Size in the Early School Grades” The Future of Children 5, no. 2 (1995): 113-27; Jeremy Finn, Susan Gerber, and Jayne Boyd-Zaharias, “Small Classes in the Early Grades, Academic Achievement and Graduating from High School,” Journal of Educational Psychology 97, no. 2 (2005): 214-23; Ellen Frede, “Preschool Program Quality for Children in Poverty,” in Early Care and Education for Children in Poverty: Promises, Programs, and Long-Term Outcomes, edited by W. Steven Barnett and Sarane Boocock (State University of New York Press, 1998), pp. 77-98.
53. See Stacey Dale and Alan Krueger, “Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 98 (2002): 1491-1527. Magnuson and Waldfogel simulate the effects on achievement from expanding ECE programs to clarify how wider access or upgraded preschooling can redress inequities. Expanding enrollments of black and Hispanic children to 80 percent (that is, one-third higher than the rate for white children), the initial gap would close by 4-20 percent [12-52 percent] for black [Hispanic] children. Expanding enrollments to cover all children below the poverty line would reduce the black-white [Hispanic-white] gap by at most 12 percent [16 percent]. In additional simulations, upgrading all types of preschooling has no effect on gaps across ethnic groups; improving the quality of Head Start reduces racial gaps by at most 10 percent [8 percent] for black [Hispanic] children. Katherine Magnuson and Jane Waldfogel, “Early Childhood Education: Effects on Ethnic and Racial Gaps in School Readiness,” Future of Children 15, no. 54. (2005): 169-96.
55. Long-term health effects may be significant. Single motherhood is associated with heightened rates of physical abuse / child neglect and parental income has a strong impact on child health. See Christina Paxson and Jane Waldfogel, “Parental Resources and Child Abuse and Neglect,” American Economic Review 89 (1999): 239-44; Anne Case, Darren Lubotsky, and Christina Paxson, “Economic Status and Health in Childhood: the Origins of the Gradient,” American Economic Review 92 (2003): 1308-34.
56. Peter Gottschalk, “Is the Correlation in Welfare Participation across Generations Spurious?” Journal of Public Economics 63 (2003): 1-25. David Green and William Warburton, “Tightening a Welfare System: the Effects of Benefit Denial on Future Welfare Receipt,” Journal of Public Economics 88 (2004): 1471-93. But the correlation may be muted, as the extent of welfare receipt scarring is debatable: scarring effects appear weak and welfare payments are increasingly becoming time-limited (most new EITC claimant families lose eligibility within two years).
57. Chris Lackey, “Violent Family Heritage, the Transition to Adulthood, and Later Partner Violence,” Journal of Family Issues 24 (2003): 74-98.
58. Sandra Stith and others, “The Intergenerational Transmission of Spouse Abuse: A Meta-Analysis,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 62 (2000): 640-54; Jenny Williams and Robin Sickles, “An Analysis of the Crime as Work Model: Evidence from the 1958 Philadelphia Birth Cohort Study,” Journal of Human Resources 37 (2002): 479-509.
59. Rebecca Maynard, “The Costs of Adolescent Childbearing,” in Kids Having Kids: Economic Costs and Social Consequences of Teen Pregnancy, edited by Rebecca Maynard (Washington: Urban Institute Press, 1996).
60. Preschooling does not have a strong effect on “steady-state” family size. It delays or reduces childbearing, by raising the opportunity cost of time spent on child care and by lowering the probability of unplanned parenthood; but it raises childbearing, because of its association with higher incomes. Typically, the opportunity cost and planning effects are slightly greater than the income effect.
6 . Terrie Moffitt, “Adolescence-Limited and Life-Course-Persistent Antisocial Behavior – A Developmental Taxonomy,” Psychological Review 100 (1993): 674-701. Casey Mulligan, “Galton Versus the Human Capital Approach to Inheritance,” Journal of Political Economy 107 (1999): s184-s224.
62. They also adversely influence offspring test scores: being a teen mother at birth reduces the children’s test scores at age six by 0.07 effect sizes; independently, a two-parent family is associated with test scores that are 0.1 effect size higher. See Roland Fryer and Steven Levitt, “Understanding the Black–White Test Score Gap in the First Two Years of School,” Review of Economics and Statistics 86 (2004): 447-64.
63. Robert Haveman, Barbara Wolfe, and Elaine Peterson, “Children of Early Childbearers as Young Adults,” in Kids Having Kids: Economic Costs and Social Consequences of Teen Pregnancy, edited by Rebecca Maynard (Washington: Urban Institute Press, 1996). Christian Belzil and Jorgen Hansen, “Structural Estimates of the Intergenerational Education Correlation,” Journal of Applied Econometrics 18 (2003): 679-96.
64. Heather Antecol and Kelly Bedard, “Does Single Parenthood Increase the Probability of Teenage Promiscuity, Substance Abuse, and Crime?” Working Paper, University of California, (http://econ.ucsb.edu/~kelly/youth.pdf); Cesar Rebellon, “Reconsidering the Broken Homes/Delinquency Relationship and Exploring its Mediating Mechanism(s),” Criminology 40 (2002): 103-35; Jennifer Hunt, “Teen Births Keep American Crime High,” Working Paper 9632 (Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2003).
65. Based on sixteen studies of intergenerational earnings correlations: an increase in parental income of $1,000 raises offspring income by approximately $340. See Mulligan, “Galton versus the Human Capital Approach” (see note 42). The intergenerational earnings elasticity between fathers and sons is 0.4, that is, if father’s earnings are 10 percent above the average for his generation, then the son’s earnings will be 4 percent higher than the average for his own generation. See Gary Solon, “Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States,” in Handbook of Labor Economics: Volume 3A, edited by Orley Ashenfelter and David Card (Amsterdam: North-Holland, 1999).
66. Robert Haveman and Barbara Wolfe, “The Determinants of Children’s Attainment: a Review of Methods and Findings,” Journal of Economic Literature 33 (1995): 1829-77.
67. See Mulligan, “Galton and the Human Capital Approach” (see note 42). Income effects on offspring attainment are similarly strong; and a two-parent family is associated with higher attainment by 0.43 years; Belzil and Hansen, “Structural Estimates” (see note 44).
68. Perry Preschool program participants averaged 2.4 children by age forty-two, and there is data on whether the first or second child has ever been arrested, repeated a grade, or been on welfare, and if the child is currently employed. There is no clear evidence of offspring advantages across these dimensions. However, sample sizes are very small.
69. Diego Restuccia and Carlos Urrutia, “Intergenerational Persistence of Earnings: The Role of Early and College Education,” American Economic Review 94 (2004): 1354-78.
70. This result accords with other research that finds investments in youth to be less efficient than investments in young children. See Steve Cameron and James Heckman, “The Dynamics of Educational Attainment for Black, Hispanic, and White Males,” Journal of Political Economy 109 (2001): 455-99. Our primary focus is on the efficacy of early investments rather than on their efficacy relative to other interventions.
7 . Families will have to invest resources, even if provision is publicly provided. Even with zero fees, some families do not enroll, so presumably the costs and inconvenience of enrollment must outweigh the benefits. It is possible that there is an informational problem: families do not appreciate the benefits of preschooling. However, the more likely explanation is that pre-K is not convenient for many families or that even relatively small direct expenses (such as transportation) are too much. 72. Janet Currie and Matthew Neidell, “Getting Inside the ‘Black Box’ of Head Start Quality: What Matters and What Doesn’t,” Economics of Education Review, forthcoming, 2006.
73. W. Steven Barnett and others, The State of Preschool: 2004 State Preschool Yearbook (New Brunswick, N.J.: NIEER, 2005).
74. W. Steven Barnett, “Maximizing Returns from Prekindergarten Education,” Education and Economic Development, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland (November 2004). (http://www.clevelandfed.org/Research/EdConf2004/Nov/PapersPresntns.cfm)