Top ten points of my book

A reader requested my summary of the “Top Ten” points of my book. Unfortunately, for reasons of logic, I think I need to do this list in order from 1 to 10 rather than in David Letterman’s reverse order. I’ve included links to blog posts that elaborate on some of these points.

  1. Investing in high-quality early childhood programs has a high return for state economies of $2 to $3 per dollar invested.
  2. The evidence for the effectiveness of early childhood programs is among the most rigorous of any public program. .
  3. Early childhood programs can produce long-term effects on adult outcomes by increasing “soft skills”, even though effects on “hard skills” sometimes fade.
  4. Early childhood programs have effects on the income distribution that are far more progressive than is true of business tax incentives.
  5. Early childhood programs have significant short-term benefits in reducing special education and other remedial program costs, and in attracting parents and thereby raising local property values.
  6. A state’s investments in early childhood programs have large national benefits due to out-migration of program participants to other states.
  7. We know enough about what makes for quality in early childhood programs that an average agency can produce good results with adequate funding.
  8. We need to know more about which early childhood programs are most successful, so we need to encourage innovation in program design with rigorous evaluation of results.
  9. Significant expansion of early childhood programs is politically likely to depend on state government actions.
  10. The federal government should encourage state and local expansion of high-quality early childhood programs, with an emphasis on encouraging innovation and evaluation.

There are other important points in my book, in particular in analyzing business tax incentives and across-the-board business tax cuts. But the above 10 stand out in my present thinking as the main points on early childhood programs.

About timbartik

Tim Bartik is a senior economist at the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, a non-profit and non-partisan research organization in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His research specializes in state and local economic development policies and local labor markets.
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