Cover: County-Level Estimates of the Effects of a Universal Preschool Program in California

County-Level Estimates of the Effects of a Universal Preschool Program in California

Published Dec 9, 2005

by Lynn A. Karoly

Download eBook for Free

Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.4 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Summary Only

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.1 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Growing interest in universal preschool education has prompted researchers to examine the potential costs and benefits of making high-quality preschool available for all children. This study presents estimates, at a disaggregated geographic level, of the potential benefits from a high-quality, one-year, universal preschool program in California. Building on the methodology employed by the author in an earlier RAND study, estimates are generated for the 13 largest California counties and for five county groups, which together represent 96 percent of the projected California population of 4-year-olds over the next decade. The analysis focuses on a series of nine outcomes specific to educational processes and attainment, child maltreatment, and juvenile crime. The effect of a universal preschool program for each annual cohort of 4-year-olds served by such a program is estimated for each outcome and geographic unit. Where possible, the baseline level of the outcome in the absence of a universal preschool program is also estimated, enabling the absolute changes to be measured in percentage terms. Because there are a number of uncertainties associated with the estimates, they are not intended to capture the exact effects of a particular program. Rather, they provide a gauge for the size of the effects and how they might differ across different geographic units in the state. These effects are of interest in their own right, and they are also associated with significant dollar benefits for a variety of stakeholders — benefits estimated to exceed the cost of providing a high-quality, universal preschool program.

The research described in this report was sponsored by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and was conducted by RAND Labor and Population.

This report is part of the RAND technical report series. RAND technical reports may include research findings on a specific topic that is limited in scope or intended for a narrow audience; present discussions of the methodology employed in research; provide literature reviews, survey instruments, modeling exercises, guidelines for practitioners and research professionals, and supporting documentation; or deliver preliminary findings. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.