Journal Article

Benefit-Cost Analysis of Preschool Education

Findings From a 25-Year Follow-Up. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry

By Barnett, W. S. (1993).

Conducted a benefit–cost analysis of a preschool education program for poor children based on a 25-yr follow-up study by J. R. Berrueta-Clement et al (1984). At the beginning of the program, Ss consisted of 128 African-American children and their parents, all of low SES. The children were born between 1958 and 1962. For follow-up at age 28 yrs, 123 of these children were available. Eight categories of potential effects of the program were identified for which the study provided measures and for which it was feasible to estimate monetary values. These were the program’s cost, child care provided by the program, elementary and secondary education, adult education, higher education, employment, crime and delinquency, and public welfare. Results show that the preschool program accomplished its primary objective of improving the quality of life for children born into poverty and that the benefits exceeded the costs.

The Authors

W. Steven (Steve) Barnett is a Board of Governors Professor and the founder and Senior Co-Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University. Dr. Barnett’s work primarily focuses on public policies regarding early childhood education, child care, and child development.