Perry Preschool Cost/Benefit Analysis Project

The Perry Preschool program was an early childhood intervention, consisting of 123 (half treatment and half control) high-risk children, living in Ypsilanti, Michigan during the early 1960s. For two years, beginning at age three, treated children attended a daily preschool program on weekdays, and received weekly home visits from teachers. Both the preschool and home visits were aimed at fostering child development through active learning, which encouraged children to plan, carry out, and reflect on their own activities through a plan-do-review process. Study participants, both treated and control, were followed up at regular intervals to evaluate the program’s effectiveness. This project presents a cost/benefit analysis of the program, using data collected at all follow-ups including the most recent age-50 interviews.

This study builds on previous work evaluating the costs and benefits of the Perry Preschool Program (Heckman et. al., 2009). In this study we incorporate data from the most recent age-50 follow-up to evaluate the effect of the Perry Preschool Program on a variety of life-cycle outcomes including crime, health, earnings, and education. We also examine the outcomes of the participants’ children, many of which are already in their 30s.