PEPR operates a number of projects that build on the science of investing in human development. This includes efforts to understand the costs, benefits, and return-on-investment from preventive interventions. Further, many PEPR projects have been designed to enhance current understanding of how evidence can be used to improve investment in prevention. See below for examples of active efforts


Optimizing Prevention of Costly Adult Outcomes

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Through a 25-year follow-up of the Fast Track and Child Development Projects, this study aims to map the relations between early risk profiles (and preventive intervention) and adult health and financial outcomes. The study will identify the government service outcomes and financial costs associated with various risk profiles by age and the likely return on investment for the Fast Track intervention. The findings will provide a template for an emerging Science of Investing in Children to improve public health and protect public resources.

Benefit-Cost Analysis of the Army Community Services Program

US Department of Agriculture

This is an economic evaluation of the Army Community Services Program, which includes support services for military personnel and their families. This includes support for the 2.2 million military personnel and their 3.1 million military family members. Particular areas of focus are the fiscal and economic benefits from survivor programs, physical and sexual abuse intervention, and substance abuse prevention programs.

Cost Analysis of a Technology Assistance Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program

National Institute of Nursing Research

This is an economic evaluation of an augmented reality-based intervention for preventing risky sexual behavior and teen pregnancy in Latina youth. The program, Mighty Girls, is designed to empower middle school Latinas with the skills they need to resist peer pressure that would otherwise accelerate their involvement in sexual behavior, allowing them to delay their initiation of intercourse and ultimately reduce their risk for teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Mighty Girls uses cutting-edge technology to create a novel, highly interactive video game that provides a live, realistic simulation of peer pressure. Players talk directly with avatars as they would with peers in their everyday life. This intervention focuses on building communication skills for resistance that are derived from evidence-based programs that do not jeopardize friendships and incorporate Latino cultural values (Marianismo, Personalismo, Simpatía) – skills valued by middle school Latinas. This trial is evaluating the costs,  potential health benefits, and cost savings to the healthcare system.

Economic Evaluation of a Universal Home Visiting Model

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

This project is evaluating the economic impact of Durham Connects (DC). DC is a nurse home-visiting program that has had tremendous success, providing an effective service package of health care, child care, and financial and social support. In addition, DC has led to significant reductions in emergency medical events, emergency outpatient visits, and overnights in the hospital. The project will: (1) determine what resources are available and who is receiving resources among children from birth to age 5; (2) test a home-visiting program for improving the impact and efficiency of early childhood investments; and (3) prepare this program for adoption and dissemination through private and public funding. The aforementioned outcomes of the project are all important and innovative contributions that are necessary to advance the field of early childhood programs. By mapping this system and delivering a program meant to improve system efficiency, the project seeks to reveal opportunities for transformational change to fundamentally improve the health of vulnerable children.

The Economic Value of Social-Emotional Learning

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

In this multi-year project from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the team is studying the long-term relationship between early social-emotional functioning and outcomes across the lifespan. The aims of this work include identifying high-quality measures of social-emotional learning, linking early social and emotional learning to economic outcome (e.g., health, criminal justice and social service utilization) to develop shadow prices of SEL impact, and estimating the return-on-investment for SEL interventions based on these estimates.  

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