Gabriella Conti, James J. Heckman, Rodrigo Pinto

This paper examines the long-term impacts on health and healthy behaviors of two of the oldest and most widely cited U.S. early childhood interventions evaluated by the method of randomization with long-term follow-up: the Perry Preschool Project (PPP) and the Carolina Abecedarian Project (ABC). There are pronounced gender effects strongly favoring boys, although there are also effects for girls. Dynamic mediation analyses show a significant role played by improved childhood traits, above and beyond the effects of experimentally enhanced adult socioeconomic status. These results show the potential of early life interventions for promoting health.

JEL Codes
C12: Hypothesis Testing: General
C93: Field Experiments
I12: Health Production
I13: Health Insurance, Public and Private
J13: Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
J24: Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
early childhood intervention
social experiments
randomized trial
Abecedarian Project
Perry Preschool Project