Since 2006 ReadyNation (still named the Partnership for America's Economic Success) has commissioned two dozen research papers detailing both the economic benefits of early childhood investment, as well as ways of financing these programs. This work has validated the strong retrun on investment and economic value of quality early childhood programs.
One of ReadyNation's main goals has been to commission and assemble the strongest possible body of evidence of the societal benefits of a wide range of supports for young children. This research—available as full studies, policy briefs, and/or presentations—helps arm business and other advocates with the tools they need to persuade state and local policy makers to make these investments.
In partnership with the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, we have released the findings from a new survey that examined business support of early childhood policies in the U.S. The report, titled "Championing Success: Business Organizations for Early Childhood Investments", found that since 2007 at least one chamber of commerce or business roundtable in 49 states has publicly supported early childhood policy or program initiatives. Read the full report here, or view the executive summary.
A revised version of a previous state-centered research brief, "Building a Stronger Commonwealth: The Business Case for Investing in Pennsylvania’s Youngest Learners" details the workforce skills gap issues facing Pennsylvania, and highlights how early childhood programs can alleviate those problems. Click here to view the brief without endnotes, or click here to view the brief with endnotes.
This brief discusses why business should support STEM in the early years, highlights what businesses are currently doing to support early STEM, and provides examples of what young children can learn before kindergarten. Click here to see all of the materials associated with this brief.
While often times the returns to early childhood programs are defined in the long-term, there are numerous programs that provide substantial short-term payoffs. This brief highlights those programs, and some of which show returns in less than a year. Click here to read the brief. To view the version with endnotes, please click here.
Dr. Timothy Bartik
This brief describes the benefits investments in early childhood programs have on a local economy, particularly when it comes to reduced special education needs, lower crime rates and increased property value. It provides highlights from a book by Dr. Timothy Bartik, "Investing in Kids: Programs and Local Economic Development." Click here to view the research brief.
This report gives a detailed analysis of promising practices when working to engage business leaders in the field of early childhood development. It provides information on both the recruitment and retention of these leaders, as well as a description of several types of organizational models. Read the report here.
Robert H. Dugger
This new study by Robert Dugger provides an estimate of the size of the youth human capital sector of the U.S. economy—which includes all people and businesses involved in raising, caring for and educating children from conception to age-18. Read this study here.
Sai Ma and Kevin Frick
This study, based on findings from underlying research funded by the Partnership, attempts to determine at what point a targeted intervention to fight childhood obesity would result in positive economic returns. Click here to view the abstract or purchase the full report.
While the national data on early childhood programs is compelling, often data focused at the state and local level is the most effective in attracting the attention of business leaders and policy makers. This research brief details the attributes of a "high-quality" program and the returns to investments in early childhood programs specifically for the state of Pennsylvania. View the research brief (PDF).
Elaine Weiss, Mark Cohen, Alex Piquero and Wesley Jennings
States face a deepening budget crisis, tempting many policy makers to cut funding from many early childhood programs. However, research shows proven investments in young children can curb costly social issues such as child abuse and neglect, long-term criminal activity and high school dropouts. To learn more, view the policy brief.
Richard Brandon and Elaine Weiss
While we continue to learn the vital role early childhood development plays in developing our economy and workforce, little information has been made available as to the total U.S. spending on the early childhood sector. The Partnership has provided an in-depth analysis of this sector of our economy, showing that spending in it is great than the agriculture and utilities sector, and almost as much as transportation. However, with the importance of early childhood, is it enough? Click here to view the research brief, or view the full report here.
The long-term benefits of programs to support children in their early years are well known, but today’s budgetary realities require more to persuade policy makers to make those investments. This brief sets out the strongest immediate and short-term economic benefits and makes the case for setting the stage now for a strong future workforce and economy. View the policy brief.
While childhood lead poisoning is largely addressed, this research finds that removing the risk for a small, remaining minority would produce societal benefits many times the costs. View the policy brief, or view the full report.
Angie Fertig and Phaedra Corso
High rates of poor birth outcomes - low birthweight and premature births - among American women threaten those babies' futures and represent major public costs, both short- and long-term. View the policy brief.
Angie Fertig and Phaedra Corso
While the health impacts of asthma have long been apparent, this report shows that the bulk of costs come in the form of long-term losses in workforce productivity. View the policy brief, or view the full report.
Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Jane Waldfogel and Katherine Magnuson
Given the expense, challenges and thus rarity of longitudinal studies of early childhood programs, this paper's innovative means of connecting shorter-term results with known teen and adult outcomes can provide useful longer-term estimates of benefits for a range of programs. View the executive summary, or view the full report.
Janet Currie, Mark Stabile, Phongsack Manivong, and Leslie L. Roos
A set of common early childhood health problems - poor birth outcomes, asthma, accidental injuries and mental health issues - are found to have long-term impacts on children's academic attainment and economic well-being. View the executive summary, or view the full report.
Sharon McGroder and Allison Hyra
Parenting skills, central to nurturing young children and preparing them for school and life, can be taught through effective programs, some of which even provide net societal economic benefits. View the full report.
The housing crisis of recent has brought to the public's and media's attention long-standing challenges for moderate- and low-income families. Among them, however, the most vulnerable — young children — pay the highest price. View the policy brief, or view the full report.
James Weill and Elizabeth March
Sufficient, nutritious food plays a critical role in young children's physical and brain development. When they lack nourishing meals, the consequences can be damaging, not only to them, but to society. View the policy brief, or view the full report.
Greg Duncan, Ariel Kalil and Kathleen Ziol-Guest
Poverty is the single greatest risk factor for babies and young children, incurring long-term damage; this study shows that raising the incomes of poor families in children's earliest years could be a smart public policy. View the policy brief, or view the full report.
Evidence-based pre-k and home visiting programs for young children can provide economic development benefits as large as those of the tax breaks and job trainings that states and local communities have traditionally employed. From a national perspective, investments in children are far superior. View the policy brief or view the full report.
Not only do effective programs for young children reduce problems in school and criminal activity, they produce major budgetary boosts at the federal level, with long-term gains that far exceed the initial investment. View the policy brief or view the full report.
Bernie Guyer, et al.
Four common early childhood health problems - injuries, tobacco exposure, mental health problems and obesity - carry both immediate medical costs and longer-term consequences for society as a whole. View the research brief, or view the full report.
Nobel Laureate in Economics James Heckman has researched and written extensively on the societal imperative of investing in children in their early years. His new website, the Heckman Equation, provides an array of resources around this message, including research findings, presentations and other advocacy tools.
In today's difficult economic climate, even solid evidence of the economic benefits of early childhood benefits may not be sufficient to move policy. This research—available as full reports and/or policy briefs—provides a range of suggestions for creative ways to engage the private sector and to collaborate on funding for effective conception-to-kindergarten programs and policies.
Programs to support young children and their families are rarely funded to their full potential or their client's needs, partly for lack of creative ways to do so. This ideas paper assesses a variety of mechanisms, their advantages and challenges, examples of their prior use an dbest scenarios for implementation. View the full report or see the Partnership Invest in Kids meeting in which it was discussed (November 2009).
The Kauffman PAES Conference on Fianncing Early Childhood Development brought together researchers and business leaders who worked to identify finance principles and approaches for early childhood, which would enable an economy like the United States to overcome entrenched obstacles to investing in youth human capital. View the materials, including the report from the conference here.
Louise Stoney and Anne Mitchell
This paper explores the potential for individual or business tax credits/deductions to 1) help finance early care and education; 2) spur additional private investment; and 3) create incentives for families to use, and early childhood programs to offer, high-quality services. View the full report.
Eugene Steuerle, Gillian Reynolds and Adam Carasso
This report points to the decreasing space in the federal budget that can be devoted to children, and the need for our country to reexamine priorities if early investments are to be sufficient for society's needs. View the research brief, or view the full report.