Can Early Intervention have a Sustained Effect on Human Capital?

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Title: Can Early Intervention have a Sustained Effect on Human Capital?
Authors: Doyle, Orla
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Date: Apr-2020
Online since: 2020-07-23T15:51:48Z
Abstract: Evidence on the sustained effect of early intervention is inconclusive, with many studies experiencing a dissolution of treatment effects once the program ends. Using a randomized trial, this paper examines the impact of Preparing for Life (PFL), a pregnancy to age five home visiting and parenting program, on outcomes in middle childhood. We find little evidence of cognitive fade-out at age nine, with significant treatment effects on cognitive skills (0.67SD) and school achievement tests (0.47-0.74SD) that are of a similar magnitude to those observed at the end of the program. There is no impact on other school outcomes and earlier effects for socio-emotional skills are no longer evident. While about 50 percent of the sample is retained at age nine, the treatment groups are still balanced on all key baseline characteristics and the results are robust to inverse probability weighting. Mediation analysis suggests that ~46 percent of the treatment effect on cognitive skills is explained by improvements in early parental investment. This study demonstrates that boosting children’s early cognitive skills can reduce school-age inequalities five years after program completion, yet continued investment may be needed to break long-standing inequalities in other dimensions of skills.
Type of material: Working Paper
Publisher: University College Dublin. School of Economics
Start page: 1
End page: 51
Series/Report no.: UCD Centre for Economic Research Working Paper Series; WP2020/08
Copyright (published version): 2020 the Author
Keywords: Early childhood interventionCognitive skillsSocio-emotional and behavioral skillsRandomized control trialSchool-age inequalities
metadata.dc.subject.classification: C93; D13; I26; J13
Language: en
Status of Item: Not peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Economics Working Papers & Policy Papers

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