RESEARCH December 2, 2015

The benefits and costs of investing in early childhood education

The fiscal, economic, and societal gains of a universal prekindergarten program in the United States, 2016-2050


A fundamental challenge confronting the United States is how to generate faster and more widely shared economic growth, or equitable growth, now and well into the future. A large body of research across a variety of academic disciplines demonstrates that investments in the education of future workers can improve educational achievement and narrow socioeconomic-based achievement gaps, both of which can accelerate economic growth and promote more equal opportunity over time. Previous research shows that educational achievement and attainment are key determinants of both overall economic growth and individual earnings. This body of research, however, does not always identify how we can raise academic achievement or calculate the costs and benefits of investments that do so.

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