NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

María José Prados

Dornsife Center for Economic
and Social Research
University of Southern California
635 Downey Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org

NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2017Quantifying the Life-cycle Benefits of a Prototypical Early Childhood Program
with Jorge Luis García, James J. Heckman, Duncan Ermini Leaf: w23479
This paper quantifies the experimentally evaluated life-cycle benefits of a widely implemented early childhood program targeting disadvantaged families. We join experimental data with non-experimental data using economic models to forecast its life-cycle benefits. Our baseline estimate of the internal rate of return (benefit/cost ratio) is 13.7% (7.3). We conduct extensive sensitivity analyses to account for model estimation error, forecasting error, and judgments made about the empirical magnitudes of non-market benefits. We examine the performance of widely used, ad hoc estimates of long-term benefit/cost ratios based on short-term measures of childhood test scores and find them wanting.
December 2016The Life-cycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program
with Jorge Luis García, James J. Heckman, Duncan Ermini Leaf: w22993
This paper estimates the long-term benefits from an influential early childhood program targeting disadvantaged families. The program was evaluated by random assignment and followed participants through their mid-30s. It has substantial beneficial impacts on health, children's future labor incomes, crime, education, and mothers' labor incomes, with greater monetized benefits for males. Lifetime returns are estimated by pooling multiple data sets using testable economic models. The overall rate of return is 13.7% per annum, and the benefit/cost ratio is 7.3. These estimates are robust to numerous sensitivity analyses.
 
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