Early investments (on young people)...

Nov 4, 2009 4:39:00 PM / by Vu Long Tran

Early investments (on young people)... not followed up by later investments are not productive

An interesting US article, "Youth Today: One More Time: Don’t Pit Preschoolers Against Teens"  provides an insight that might be useful for us to apply in Australia as it discusses the value of investing in the development of child early on and on an on-going basis. It outlines some of the social and economic benefits of investing in our youth and how “early investments … not followed up by later investments are not productive.”"

Social benefits

It discusses how "investment in very young children … improves school readiness and decreases crime, teen pregnancy, delinquency, substance abuse. and welfare dependency,”' “A fiscally conservative approach would entail greater investment in the development of young children. … While funding Juvenile Justice programs is necessary, prevention through investments in the cognitive, social and emotional development of young children makes good economic and fiscal sense.”"

It also explains how there is "value in investing in preparation and prevention
versus waiting to intervene further down the road...[and] investing early...[however], there is something wrongheaded and dangerous about equating prevention with early childhood and intervention with teens...[and]sustained
investments [need to be made] in the "cognitive, social and emotional" development of all children."

Economic benefits:

"The bottom-line conclusion of Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman’s 2006 economic case for investing in children is simple: “Invest early in children – and don’t stop” (emphasis added). The second half of the sentence, “and don’t stop,” marks a notable departure from Heckman’s previous work, which argued that fundamental skills are produced in the early childhood years and that remediation after the fact was cost-prohibitive."

"The updated argument of Heckman and Flavio Cunha, both University of Chicago economists, released in the America’s Promise Alliance report, Every Child Every Promise: Investing in Our Young People, is that “cumulative investments yield compounded returns.” Their new position reflects new developments in neuroscience, as well as more sophisticated econometric models they and others are using that take into account more factors, both on the input and the output sides of the equation."

"The fiscal argument could not be more straightforward. “The compounded effects of consistent, cost-effective investments in children and youth pay for themselves and are a necessary strategy to keep America strong in a competitive world where human capital is at a premium,” Heckman and Cunha say.

This means that reflects how addressing youth early on, sets the foundations for many young people to grow and live a prosperous and happy life, and how on-going support ensures that many will be able to stay on track to achieve this :)


"Youth Today: One More Time: Don’t Pit Preschoolers Against Teens", Last accessed November 4, 2019. http://forumfyi.org/content/youth-today-one-more-time-dont-pit-preschoolers-against-teens

Vu Long Tran

Written by Vu Long Tran

Solutions Engineer APAC. ex-@Forrester consultant. Writing on #cloud #howto guides and #tech tinkering!