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Investing in Kids: Early Childhood Programs and Local Economic Development Hardcover – January 3, 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Once again, Bartik shows why he is the 'go-to guy' on the economics of local economic development." --Michael Mandel, former Chief Economist at BusinessWeek

"Tim Bartik has written a thoughtful book on the value of a local approach to financing and creating early interventions to foster child development. The economic case for supplementing the early environments of disadvantaged children is compelling. Annual rates of return of 7 10 percent per annum have been estimated higher than the return on stocks over the period 1945 2008. In an era of stringent federal budgets, Bartik offers a plan for raising the support needed to put effective programs into place." --James Heckman, Nobel Prize winning economist, University of Chicago

"State and local economic development officials need new strategies, ones backed by fact and evidence. Tim Bartik provides exactly this in his powerfully researched book that documents the link between economic development and investing in young children in ways never done before. Now business leaders and development officials have a sober, fact-based framework for increasing personal incomes, local and state workforce competitiveness, and national fiscal strength. This is a framework for getting our country back on its feet and keeping it there." --Robert Dugger, founder and Managing Partner of Hanover Investment Group; Chairman of the Advisory Board, Partnership for America's Economic Success

"This book combines a thorough review of the economics literature on local economic development with a particularly timely analysis of the effects of top-knotch pre-K schooling on the local economy. Bartik has often written about the value to local communities of economic development, though most of his work has been to analyze the value of alternative business arrangements. Here he describes how organizations for children's education can also have a long-running positive effect on local communities. The first part of the book will be of interest to anyone who needs to catch up on what is known about the economics of local area development. The second half considers the various effects of early childhood programs on local employment and economic development. Bartik is optimistic about the advantages of such action, but the (sometimes very) detailed footnotes alert the reader to alternative results. Recommended. General readers; students, upper-division undergraduate and up; researchers; professionals." --CHOICE Magazine

"State and local economic development officials need new strategies, ones backed by fact and evidence. Tim Bartik provides exactly this in his powerfully researched book that documents the link between economic development and investing in young children in ways never done before. Now business leaders and development officials have a sober, fact-based framework for increasing personal incomes, local and state workforce competitiveness, and national fiscal strength. This is a framework for getting our country back on its feet and keeping it there." --Robert Dugger, founder and Managing Partner of Hanover Investment Group; Chairman of the Advisory Board, Partnership for America's Economic Success

Economist timothy Bartik has written an important book that couldn't have come at a better time. As battle rage over cuts to federally funded early childhood programs like Head Start and even Start, and local governments are faced with shrinking economies, we seem to have a dilemma: either provide business incentives to increase jobs for the ever-increasing ranks of the unemployed, or maintain funding for early-childhood programs, especially those targeting low-income families who need them most.

Bartik makes a strong case that early childhood programs are in fact pro-business; they provide boosts to the labor supply and thus in concert with local business incentives that increase labor demand, they promote economic development.

Ultimately, this book is a welcome synthesis - for researchers and policy makers alike - of economic and education research. --Journal of Children and Poverty

Although Bartik titularly writes of investing in children, his book is far more inclusive, as are its findings. He has taken on an extremely important topic, subjected it to rigorous analysis, and used caution where caution is due. The result is a very insightful examination of two types of programs: business assistance programs aimed at local economic development and early childhood programs aimed initially at increasing youngsters' social and academic skills but which also have implications for long-term economic development.

Bartik has produced a fascinating product than many should read to better understand not only the case for various forms of business assistance but, more importantly, the case that can be made for public investment in early childhood education. --Journal of Regiional Science

From the Inside Flap

At a time when state and local governments are struggling with budget shortfalls, officials have begun to question the wisdom of offering large tax breaks to corporations in the name of "economic development." In Investing in Kids, economist Tim Bartik says officials are missing a strategy that could be just as effective--if not more so--at boosting the earnings of local residents. That strategy is early childhood education.

Early childhood programs, if designed correctly, pay big economic dividends down the road because they increase the skills of their participants. And since many of those participants will remain in the same state or local area as adults, the local economy benefits: more persons with better skills attract business, which provides more and better jobs for the local economy.

Bartik measures ratios of local economic development benefits to costs for both early childhood education and business incentives. He shows that early childhood programs equal the best-designed business incentives in their benefit-to-cost performance in the short run and can surpass them in the long run. Given this, states and municipalities would do well to adopt economic development strategies that balance high-quality business incentives with early childhood programs.

To aid in this, Bartik provides a guide to policymakers for how the returns to early childhood programs, versus business incentives, vary with different program designs, circumstances, or perspectives. Among the issues he considers are these:

- How benefits of pre-K programs vary with class size and other quality features; - How benefits of business incentives vary with the wages of the targeted businesses; - How the benefits of early childhood programs and business incentives vary by family income; - How the benefits of early childhood programs and business incentives vary with the size and growth of local economies; - Why business incentive programs may have much lower national benefits; - Why universal pre-K may provide short-term benefits in local property value increases.

Federal policies can seek to encourage high-quality early childhood programs, but it is more likely that these programs' future will depend on local action. If early childhood programs can show significant local economic returns, they may spur local policymakers to take such action. In this groundbreaking book, Bartik marshals the evidence for how state and local policy toward early childhood programs can accomplish this, leading to higher earnings and an improved standard of living for local residents.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 417 pages
  • Publisher: W.E. Upjohn Institute (January 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0880993731
  • ISBN-13: 978-0880993739
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,060,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This book is great. Very readable, and very rigorous -- understandable for business and government decision-makers and child advocates at one level, and yet thoroughly detailed for economics professionals who want to get deep in the econometric weeds. "Investing in Kids" goes straight at local and state slow growth and declining competitiveness problems. We see cities and counties competing with each other all the time, paying billions to businesses and sports teams to locate in their areas. "Investing in Kids" shows that tax giveaways and big stadium projects aren't the best way to increase near-term or long-term economic growth and job creation. It documents that investing in early childhood care and education makes as good or better economic sense. "Investing in Kids" also documents that if we're going to have the workforce we need to compete successfully on a global basis, we should invest well and invest early in the lives of American children. For economic development professionals, this is a transformational book. It says, and shows why and how, investing now in human capital strengthens local and regional economies near-term and long-term.
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Tim Bartik is well known and highly respected among professional ecconomists (of which I am one). He has a long list of published research projects and presentations at important conferences, especially related to state and local economic development and labor-market issue. His in-depth work on early childhood education (ECE) here is first rate and much needed.

As an economist, Bartik takes a different approach to the issues of ECE than educators or sociologists might. He crunches the numbers to ask if ECE is an approach in which the benefits are greater than the costs, and how it compares with other approaches we might take to improve society. Along the way he considers different types of ECE programs and points out that some are much more effective than others. He asks tough questions such as who benefits most from these programs, and who pays the costs. He considers the appropriate level for action: local, state, and/or national. He talks about the temporal dimension--that many of the benefits are long-term but the costs are short-term. He addresses political issues: given the long-run benefits but short-run costs, why/how might a short-sighted local politican still agree to support this kind of proogram? Can the benefits from a high-quality ECE raise property values locally? And what about spillovers--that those who benefit from the education can pick up and move, and take their embodied tax dollars with them?

Bartik's extensive background in state and local economic development research lets him speak knowledgeably about business incentive programs as an alternative to ECE and how and when these two very different approaches can fit together. And he quantifies the benefits of each type of program to let the reader draw conclusions.
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Had to buy for a college class but, did not agree with what the author said about putting your child in childcare the earlier the better. It is interesting and informative. You get what you paid for.
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Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating work. The author's key thesis is phrased thus (Page 1): "Local economic development strategies in the United States should include extensive investments in high quality early childhood programs, such as pre-kindergarten (pre-K) education, child care, and parenting assistance."

The author uses economic analysis to tease out economic development effects of early childhood education (ECE). He notes that one has to take a long range perspective, as we are speaking of economic benefits many years later, long after the ECE experience. Indeed, he suggests that ECE can have effects not that much different from business incentives.

He also argues that local government can play a role here, by working to support and extend ECE.

An interesting argument that Timothy Bartik well makes.
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