NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Understanding the Mechanisms through Which an Influential Early Childhood Program Boosted Adult Outcomes

James J. Heckman, Rodrigo Pinto, Peter A. Savelyev

NBER Working Paper No. 18581
Issued in November 2012
NBER Program(s):   CH   DEV   ED

A growing literature establishes that high quality early childhood interventions targeted toward disadvantaged children have substantial impacts on later life outcomes. Little is known about the mechanisms producing these impacts. This paper uses longitudinal data on cognitive and personality traits from an experimental evaluation of the influential Perry Preschool program to analyze the channels through which the program boosted both male and female participant outcomes. Experimentally induced changes in personality traits explain a sizable portion of adult treatment effects.

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A data appendix is available at http://www.nber.org/data-appendix/w18581

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18581

Published: James Heckman & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter Savelyev, 2013. "Understanding the Mechanisms through Which an Influential Early Childhood Program Boosted Adult Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2052-86, October. citation courtesy of

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