The Heckman equation


The impact of James Heckman on Early Childhood policies has been terrific, and probably more have to come.

His research has had an impact on the work of policymakers, providing important new insights into areas such as education, jobtraining, the importance of accounting for general equilibrium in the analysis of labor markets, anti-discrimination law, and civil rights.

Most of these areas has seen a strong development from Heckman’s researches, but my interest is focused in Early Childhood Care and Education.

Heckman has provided policymakers, and education seniors a concrete tool to open discussion with politicians over the investment in education, mostly in early education.

In concrete, the ROI (Return of Investmen) in Early Childhood is high, much higher then other politics, and recent researches shows that an investment bring back 13 % of the investment for comprehensive, high-quality, birth-to-five early education. The return in preschools from 3 or 4 to primary, though quite high (7–10%) is not the same as an investment based on a birth-to-five life spam.

The reasons are very different. Basically, children that attended birth-to-five education has less health problems (because of correct life styles), less social issues (and consequent less expenditure in social services), less problem with justice and more entrepreneurial skills, turning our in good economy and financial situations, increase of mother’s income, less school drop-out and in general better school careers.

Early Childhood policies has an impact on parents (and mostly on mothers) that can enter the labour market, instead of being occupied with care tasks. Both parents can take advantage from a system of holistic, comprehesive, systemic Early Childhood policies.

Last but not least, skills developed through quality early childhood education last for a lifetime. So the investment may really bring a long-lasting change in the destiny of individuals, communities, nations.

This is basically the result of his researches and it should definitely convince politicians in investing in Early Childhood.

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