Strengthening Benefit-Cost Methodology for the Evaluation of Early Childhood Interventions: A Workshop

Type: Stand Alone Workshop
Topics: Children and Families, Health Services, Coverage, and Access, Public Health, Select Populations and Health Equity
Board: Board on Children, Youth, and Families

Activity Description

An ad hoc committee will be formed to plan and convene a workshop that will feature invited presentations on the following topics:

1. What state-of-the art examples of benefit-cost methodology can be drawn from evaluation of diverse early childhood interventions, such as home visitation programs, child care programs, Head Start, WIC, Bright Beginnings, Healthy Steps, low birthweight studies, immunization and vaccine studies, Medicaid and SCHIP, and other areas? How are benefits and costs for children identified and assessed in each program area? What benefit and cost assumptions are particularly influential in determining the value of selected interventions?

2.  How does the status of benefit-cost methodology in the field of early childhood interventions compare with studies of other vulnerable populations, such as those experiments used in assessing the impact of housing subsidies (such as Moving to Opportunities), income assistance programs (such as TANF), and related activities?

3.  What do we know about the influences of scaling up early childhood health and educational programs on both costs and benefits?

4.  What has been the experience with assigning a dollar value to long-term impacts on non-monetary outcomes like crime, health, etc.? What assumptions influence this practice and are they sensitive to specific characteristics of the populations served by selected programs?

5.  What lessons can be learned from the experience of other fields, such as environmental economics, to develop other approaches to program evaluation, when true benefits and costs cannot be determined within a reasonable time frame? For example, do methods such as contingent valuation analysis or estimates of "willingness to pay" offer important lessons for the assessment of the value of early childhood interventions?

An individually-authored summary of the workshop will be prepared by a designated rapporteur.

Previous Meetings for this Activity