Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:

login

Log in through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Journal Article

The Economic Returns to Early Childhood Education

Lynn A. Karoly
The Future of Children
Vol. 26, No. 2, Starting Early: Education from Pre Kindergarten to Third Grade (Fall 2016), pp. 37-55
Published by: Princeton University
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43940580
Page Count: 19
Were these topics helpful?
See something inaccurate? Let us know!

Select the topics that are inaccurate.

Cancel
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Add to My Lists
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Economic Returns to Early Childhood Education
Preview not available

Abstract

One way to assess the value of preschool education programs is to compare their upfront costs with the economic benefits they produce, measured by such outcomes as less need for special education services, improved high school graduation rates, higher earnings and less criminal activity in adulthood, and so on. What do such benefit-cost analyses tell us about the wisdom of investing in greater access to preschool? In this article, Lynn Karoly carefully reviews the evidence. First, she identifies the biggest challenges in measuring the economic returns from preschool programs. Then she summarizes the range of estimates from various benefit-cost analyses and some of the methodological differences that can account for the differences among them. Last, she explores the implications of the research for using benefit-cost analysis results to make policy decisions about preschool education. One key challenge: Although many preschool programs have been evaluated for their educational effectiveness, few have been subject to economic evaluations. Most predictive studies of preschool education s long-term economic benefits rely on benefit-cost analyses of programs that were implemented decades ago, when a far smaller proportion of children attended preschool at all, and that followed their subjects well into adult life. Although analyses of those programs suggest returns from preschool as high as $17 for every dollar invested, Karoly concludes that in todays context, it may be more realistic to expect returns in the range of $ 3 to $4. In the end, Karoly writes, we need to improve the quality and usefulness of economic evaluations of preschool, particularly by calculating the true economic value of preschool programs' short-term and medium-term effects in areas such as cognitive, social-emotional, and behavioral development. We could then more easily evaluate the economic benefits of a preschool program without having to wait until the participating children grow to adulthood.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
37
    37
  • Thumbnail: Page 
38
    38
  • Thumbnail: Page 
39
    39
  • Thumbnail: Page 
40
    40
  • Thumbnail: Page 
41
    41
  • Thumbnail: Page 
42
    42
  • Thumbnail: Page 
43
    43
  • Thumbnail: Page 
44
    44
  • Thumbnail: Page 
45
    45
  • Thumbnail: Page 
46
    46
  • Thumbnail: Page 
47
    47
  • Thumbnail: Page 
48
    48
  • Thumbnail: Page 
49
    49
  • Thumbnail: Page 
50
    50
  • Thumbnail: Page 
51
    51
  • Thumbnail: Page 
52
    52
  • Thumbnail: Page 
53
    53
  • Thumbnail: Page 
54
    54
  • Thumbnail: Page 
55
    55