August 2015

IZA DP No. 9247: The Effects of Two Influential Early Childhood Interventions on Health and Healthy Behaviors

Published in: Economic Journal, 2016, 126 (596), F28-F65.

This paper examines the long-term impacts on health and healthy behaviors of two of the oldest and most widely cited U.S. early childhood interventions evaluated by the method of randomization with long-term follow-up: the Perry Preschool Project (PPP) and the Carolina Abecedarian Project (ABC). There are pronounced gender effects strongly favoring boys, although there are also effects for girls. Dynamic mediation analyses show a significant role played by improved childhood traits, above and beyond the effects of experimentally enhanced adult socioeconomic status. These results show the potential of early life interventions for promoting health.