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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 15 No. 2 (Spring 2001)

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Early Childhood Education Programs

Article Citation

Currie, Janet. 2001. "Early Childhood Education Programs." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 15(2): 213-238.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.15.2.213

Abstract

This paper discusses early childhood education programs: their goals; effectiveness; optimal timing, targeting, and content; and costs and benefits. Early intervention has significant short- and medium-term benefits: most notably it reduces grade repetition and special education costs, and provides quality child care. The effects are greatest for more disadvantaged children. Some model programs have produced exciting improvements in educational attainment and earnings and have reduced welfare dependency and crime. The jury is still out on the long-term effects of Head Start, but Head Start would pay for itself if it produced a quarter of the long-term gains of model programs.

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Authors

Currie, Janet (UCLA and NBER)

JEL Classifications

I21: Analysis of Education
I28: Education: Government Policy
I22: Educational Finance
I38: Welfare and Poverty: Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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