W. Steven Barnett

W. Steven Barnett

Senior Co-Director, Founder

National Institute for Early Education Research


W. Steven Barnett is a Board of Governors Professor and Senior Co-Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University. His research includes studies of the economics of early care and education including costs and benefits, the long-term effects of preschool programs on children’s learning and development, and the distribution of educational opportunities. Dr. Barnett earned his Ph.D. in economics at the University of Michigan. He has authored or co-authored more than 200 publications.  Research interests include the economics of human development and practical policies for translating research findings into effective public investments.  His best known works include: reviews of the research on long-term effects; benefit-cost analyses of the Perry Preschool and Abecedarian programs; randomized trials comparing alternative approaches to educating children including length of day, monolingual versus dual-language immersion, the Tools of the Mind curriculum; and the series of State of Preschool yearbooks providing annual state-by-state analyses of progress in public pre-K.

Selected Publications

NIEER State of Preschool Series.  Available at https://nieer.org/publications/annual-state-pre-k-reports-state-preschool-yearbooks.

Ramon, I., Chattopadhyay, S. K., Barnett, W. S., Hahn, R. A., & Community Preventive Services Task Force. (2017). Early Childhood Education to Promote Health Equity: A Community Guide Economic Review. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.

Kalicki, B., Woo, N., & Barnett, W. S. (2017). Longitudinal studies in ECEC: challenges of translating research into policy action. International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy, 11(1), 2.

Hahn, R. A., Barnett, W. S., Knopf, J. A., Truman, B. I., Johnson, R. L., Fielding, J. E. & Hunt, P. C. (2016). Early Childhood Education to Promote Health Equity: A Community Guide Systematic Review. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.

Barnett, W. S. & Goffin, S.G. (2015). Assessing QRIS as a change agent. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 30, 179-182.

Hustedt , J. T., Jung, K., Barnett W. S. & Williams, T. (2015). Kindergarten Readiness Impacts of the Arkansas Better Chance State Prekindergarten Initiative. The Elementary School Journal 116(2).

Baumeister, Antonia E.E., Rindermann, Heiner & Barnett, W. Steven. (2014). Crèche attendance and children’s intelligence and behavior development. Learning and Individual Differences, 30. 1-10.

Hustedt, Jason T., Epstein, Dale J., & Barnett W. Steven. (2013). Early Childhood Education Programs in the Public Schools. Handbook of Research on the Education of Young Children. (403).

Pianta, R., Barnett, W. S., Justice, L., & Sheridan, S. (Eds.) (2012). Handbook of early childhood education. New York, NY: Guilford Publications.

Barnett, W. S. (2011). Four reasons the United States should offer every child a preschool education.  In E. Zigler, W. Gilliam, & W. S. Barnett (Eds.), The pre-k debates: Current controversies and issues (pp. 34-39). Baltimore: Brookes Publishing.

Barnett, W. S. (2011). Effectiveness of early educational intervention. Science, 333, 975-978.

Barnett, W. S. (2010). Universal and targeted approaches to preschool education in the United States. International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy, 4(1), 1-12.

Camilli, G., Vargas, S., Ryan, S., & Barnett, W.S. (2010). Meta-analysis of the effects of early education interventions on cognitive and social development. Teachers College Record, 112(3), 579-620.

Nores, M., & Barnett, W. S. (2010). Benefits of early childhood interventions across the world: (Under) Investing in the very young. Economics of Education Review, 29(2), 271-282.

Barnett, W. S., Jung, K., Yarosz, D. J., Thomas, J., Hornbeck, A., Stechuk, R., & Burns, S. (2008).  Educational effects of the Tools of the Mind curriculum:  A randomized trial. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 23(3), 299-313.

Diamond, A., Barnett, W. S., Thomas, J., & Munro, S. (2007).  Preschool program improves cognitive control.  Science, 318, 1387-1388.

Barnett, W. S., Yarosz, D. J., Thomas, J., & Blanco, D. (2007) Two-way and monolingual English immersion in preschool education: An experimental comparison. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 22, 277-293.

Barnett, W. S., & Masse, L. N. (2007).  Early childhood program design and economic returns: Comparative benefit-cost analysis of the Abecedarian program and policy implications, Economics of Education Review, 26, 113-125.

Belfield, C., Nores, M., Barnett, W. S., & Schweinhart, L. (2006).  The High/Scope Perry Preschool Program:  Cost- benefit analysis using data from the age 40. Journal of Human Resources, 16(1), 162-190.

Schweinhart, L. J., Montie, J., Xiang, Z., Barnett, W. S., Belfield, C. R., & Nores, M. (2005).  Lifetime effects:  The High/Scope Perry Preschool study through age 40 (Monographs of the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, 14).  Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Educational Research Foundation.

Barnett, W. S., & Boocock, S. S. (Eds.) (1998). Early care and education for children in poverty:  Promises, programs, and long-term results. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Barnett, W. S. (1996). Lives in the balance: Benefit-cost analysis of the Perry Preschool Program through age 27. Monographs of the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.

Barnett, W. S. (1993). Benefit-cost analysis of preschool education: Findings from a 25-year follow-up. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 63(4), 500-508.