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Upjohn Institute working paper ; 16-261
In this paper, benefits and costs are estimated for a universal pre-K program, provided by Tulsa Public Schools. Benefits are derived from estimated effects of Tulsa pre-K on retention by grade 9. Retention effects are projected to dollar benefits from future earnings increases and crime reductions. Based on these estimates, Tulsa pre-K has benefits exceeding costs by about 2-to-1. This benefit cost ratio is far less than the benefit-cost ratios (ranging from 8-to-1 to 16-to-1) for more targeted and intensive pre-K programs from the 1970s and 80s, such as Perry Preschool and the Chicago Child-Parent Center (CPC) program. Comparing benefit-cost results from different studies suggests that our more modest estimates are due to two factors: 1) smaller percentage effects of pre-K on future earnings and crime in Tulsa than in Perry and CPC, and 2) smaller baseline crime rates in Tulsa than in the Perry and CPC comparison groups.
August 2016; Revised April 2017
Revised paper April 20, 2017
W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and Georgetown University
EDUCATION; Early childhood; Preschool and early education
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Bartik, Timothy, Jonathan A. Belford, William T. Gormley Jr., and Sara Anderson. 2017. "A Benefit-Cost Analysis of the Tulsa Universal Pre-K Program." Upjohn Institute Working Paper 16-261. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. https://doi.org/10.17848/wp16-261