Research Summary: The Jamaican Study (2021 Update)

New research published in the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2021, following up on previous studies, demonstrates the continued beneficial impacts of home visiting programs, parent-child interactions and cognitive and social stimulation for infants and toddlers in closing the achievement gap and producing longterm economic gains.

Originally published in the journal Science on May 30, 2014, a study by Professor Heckman, UC Berkeley economist Paul Gertler, and fellow researchers at the University of Chicago, the University of the West Indies, the World Bank and the University of London found that a high-quality early childhood intervention boosted the earnings of severely disadvantaged children in Jamaica by 25%. Read the 2014 article as it appeared in Science here.

Now at an average age of 31, disadvantaged children treated in the Jamaican intervention are more likely to acquire a higher education diploma by 26 percentage points and had 43% higher wages and 37% higher earnings than the control group participants.

The results strengthen findings from previous research that early interventions are effective for disadvantaged children in developing countries. Read the 2021 NBER working paper here.