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Social Policy: Targeting programmes effectively


A study now shows that 20% of the population accounts for 60–80% of several adult social ills. Outcomes for this group can be accurately predicted from as early as age 3 years, using a small set of indicators of disadvantage. This finding supports policies that target children from disadvantaged families.

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Figure 1: Net present value of the main components of the life-cycle benefit–cost analysis of the Carolina Abecedarian Project (ABC) and the Carolina Approach to Responsive Education (CARE).


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Correspondence to James J. Heckman.

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Heckman, J., García, J. Social Policy: Targeting programmes effectively. Nat Hum Behav 1, 0019 (2017).

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