Author(s)  
Jorge Luis Garcia, James J. Heckman, Duncan Ermini Leaf, Maria Jose Prados

This paper quantifies and aggregates the multiple lifetime benefits of an influential high-quality early childhood program with outcomes measured through midlife. Guided by economic theory, we supplement experimental data with non-experimental data to forecast the life-cycle benefits and costs of the program. Our point estimate of the internal rate of return is 13.7% with an associated benefit/cost ratio of 7.3. We account for model estimation and forecasting error and present estimates from extensive sensitivity analyses. This paper is a template for synthesizing experimental and non-experimental data using economic theory to estimate the long-run life-cycle benefits of social programs.

JEL Codes  
J13: Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
I28: Education: Government Policy
C93: Field Experiments
Keywords  
childcare
early childhood education
gender differences
Health
long-term prediction
quality of life
randomized trials
substitution bias