Top 20 Resources

Need to make the case for investing in quality early childhood education for disadvantaged children? Videos, scientific papers, infographics and research summaries—these resources have proven to be the most effective. Get the facts—download, share, embed in your website and check back for new resources.

  1. Research Summary: The Lifecycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program View Summary

    This two-page summary discusses the key takeaways of Professor Heckman’s latest research, “The Lifecycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program.” The research shows that high-quality birth-to-five programs for disadvantaged children can deliver a 13% per year return on investment—a rate substantially higher than the 7-10% return previously established for preschool programs serving 3- to…

  2. FAQ for The Lifecycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program View Summary

    Frequently asked questions regarding the research from Lifecycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program, ranging from explanation to how the 13% ROI was determined to clarifications around experiment criticisms. For reference, the research paper can be found here, and a summary of the research can be read here. 1. Why is the ROI higher?…

  3. Early Childhood Investments Substantially Boost Adult Health View Academic Paper

    This 2014 Science article features an analysis of the health benefits derived from the North Carolina Abecedarian project in North Carolina, a birth-to-five early childhood education program that included early health, nutrition, and learning. Heckman and co-authors from the Frank Porter Graham Institute at the University of North Carolina find that comprehensive early childhood education boosts…

  4. Research Summary: Abecedarian & Health View Summary

    A topline, one-page summary of the North Carolina Abecedarian preschool program analysis that tracks the participant’s education, employment and health outcomes to age 35. Heckman finds significant health benefits beyond education and increased employment, particularly in reducing the incidence of costly chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. This summary makes the…

  5. Lacking Character, American Education Fails the Test View Summary

    In this three-page brief, Professor Heckman argues that what we value and measure in American education doesn’t measure up to the true drivers of human and social success. Character skills often matter more than cognitive skills and calls for educating the whole child, from early learning through young adulthood. For decades, there has been a…

  6. How to Use Professor Heckman’s Work View Summary

    This is a two-page message framework advocates can use to motivate policymakers and other influentials to invest in quality early childhood education for disadvantaged children. This resource can be used as a guide for crafting persuasive talking points to business leaders, policymakers or other potential advocates. The Message: Nobel Memorial Prize Laureate Professor James Heckman…

  7. The Rate of Return to the HighScope Perry Preschool Program View Academic Paper

    This academic paper re-analyzes the effects of the Perry Preschool Program and confirms the 7-10% rate of return previously estimated in “Schools, Skills, and Synapses.” It can be used to justify investment in high-quality preschool programs for disadvantaged children. This paper estimates the rate of return to the HighScope Perry Preschool Program, an early intervention…

  8. Research Summary: Perry Preschool and Character Skill Development View Summary

    This two-page research summary provides proof that social and emotional development in early childhood development drives better education, health, social and economic outcomes. Heckman highlights the influence that character skills have on school, career and life success, and provides guidance for how advocates and policymakers can use the research to promote effective social and economic change.…

  9. Invest in Early Childhood Development: Reduce Deficits, Strengthen the Economy View Summary

    In this two-page summary document, Professor Heckman argues that the best way to reduce deficits is to invest in quality early childhood development for disadvantaged children. It creates better education, health, social and economic outcomes that increase revenue and reduce the need for costly social spending. “The highest rate of return in early childhood development…

  10. 4 Big Benefits of Investing in Early Childhood Development View Summary

    Preventing the achievement gap, improving health outcomes, boosting earnings and providing a high rate of economic return—this one-page document summarizes the benefits of investing in quality early childhood education for disadvantaged children. This document is often shared with policymakers, advocates and the media to make the case for early childhood education. Improving the economy, strengthening…

  11. The Case for Investing in Disadvantaged Young Children View Academic Paper

    In this 10-page excerpt from “Big Ideas for Children: Investing in Our Nation’s Future,” Professor Heckman discusses his early findings on the need for early childhood education and the economic benefits of providing it. Written while Heckman and his team were still analyzing the economic returns from the Perry Preschool project, it provides the foundation…

  12. Early Childhood Education: Research Summary View Summary

    This two-page summary document is for those who need to prove that government investment in early childhood education for disadvantaged children pays off for individuals and society. Early Childhood Education is a comprehensive investment of government-subsidized early childhood development programs—including Head Start. Heckman and co-authors Sneha Elango, Jorge Luis García and Andrés Hojman find that…

  13. The Heckman Curve View Share Graphic

    This graphic shows that the highest rate of economic returns comes from the earliest investments in children, providing an eye-opening understanding that society invests too much money on later development when it is often too late to provide great value. It shows the economic benefits of investing early and building skill upon skill to provide…

  14. Cognitive Skills Are Not Enough Watch Video

    This video captures a 2010 presentation Professor Heckman made in Chicago to business leaders and policymakers. Professor Heckman argues that developing early social and emotional skills is critical for creating a productive adult—countering the argument that cognitive skills matter most. An excerpt of his speech is followed by testimonials from business leaders and local policymakers…

  15. Human Development is Economic Development View Presentation

    A 2016, 22-slide presentation by Professor Heckman to the Larger Community Foundations Conference. This presentation offers evidence-based research to support bringing together stakeholders from across health, education, economic development, criminal justice and political parties to reduce inequality, increase human capital and foster economic vitality.