Early Childhood Development

QRISs, Toddler and Toy, 2 Column

The Minneapolis Fed started a focus on early childhood development, or ECD, in 2003 with the essay “Early Childhood Development: Economic Development with a High Public Return,” by then-Director of Research Art Rolnick and Economist Rob Grunewald. The piece launched a conversation among researchers, policymakers, and educators about the importance of investing in high-quality ECD programs. We contribute to this ongoing exchange through writings, speaking engagements, convenings, and partnership efforts, many of which are highlighted below.

From the Minneapolis Fed


Can Pay for Success succeed in early childhood development?
Rob Grunewald, Community Dividend,  April 2018

Child care rating systems promote quality and parental awareness
Rob Grunewald, Ben Horowitz, and Liza Bukingolts, Community Dividend,  January 2018

Early Childhood Development in Montana
Rob Grunewald and Tegan Lane, Community Development Paper,  January 2018

The promise of early childhood development in Indian Country
Rob Grunewald, Community Dividend, November 2017

Federal Reserve System Community Development Research Conference
Strong Foundations: The Economic Futures of Kids and Communities

March 23-24, 2017

Early Childhood Development in Indian Country Conference
October 5-6, 2016

Investments in Young Children Yield High Public Returns
Rob Grunewald, Cascade (Philadelphia Fed), September 2016

Early childhood Native language immersion develops minds, revitalizes cultures
Rob Grunewald, Community Dividend, August 2016

Sustaining early childhood education gains
Rob Grunewald, Community Dividend, February 2016

Sustaining Early Childhood Gains Conference
October 8-9, 2015

Presentation Slides: The Economic Case for Investments in Young Children [pdf]


Early Childhood Native American Language Immersion Programs
Presentation Slides and Paper
Rob Grunewald
National Congress of American Indians 10th Annual Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum
June 30, 2015

Cultivating Soft Skills in Workforce Development: Early Childhood Initiatives
Includes presentation by Rob Grunewald
St. Louis Fed’s Exploring Innovation in Community Development Webinar
March 5, 2015

Perspectives on Inequality and Opportunity from the Survey of Consumer Finances
Speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, October 17, 2014
“Research shows that children from lower-income households who get good-quality pre-Kindergarten education are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college as well as hold a job and have higher earnings, and they are less likely to be incarcerated or receive public assistance.”


Early Childhood Education “Fade Out” in Context
Presentation Slides and Video
Presentation by Rob Grunewald
February 8, 2013

Early Childhood Education
Speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, July 24, 2012

Hardly child's play
Phil Davies and Rob Grunewald, fedgazette, July 2011

Stop Investing in Stadiums...Start Investing in Kids
Interview with Art Rolnick in Forefront (Cleveland Fed), Fall 2010

An Early Childhood Investment with a High Public Return
Rob Grunewald and Arthur J. Rolnick, The Regional Economist (St. Louis Fed), July 2010

Early Education’s Big Dividends: The Better Public Investment [pdf]
Rob Grunewald and Arthur J. Rolnick, Communities & Banking (Boston Fed), Spring 2008

Critical Issues in Cost Effectiveness in Children’s First Decade Conference
December 7-8, 2007

Remarks at the Early Childhood Research Collaborative Conference
Gary Stern, December 7, 2007

Getting kids kindergarten-ready: A profile of the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation
Ericca Maas, Community Dividend, November 2007

The Economics of Early Childhood Development as Seen by Two Fed Economists [pdf]
Rob Grunewald and Arthur J. Rolnick, Community Investments (San Francisco Fed), Fall 2007, page 13

The Level and Distribution of Economic Well-Being
Speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, February 6, 2007
“Although education and the acquisition of skills is a lifelong process, starting early in life is crucial. Recent research—some sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in collaboration with the University of Minnesota—has documented the high returns that early childhood programs can pay in terms of subsequent educational attainment and in lower rates of social problems, such as teenage pregnancy and welfare dependency.”

Early Intervention on a Large Scale
Arthur J. Rolnick and Rob Grunewald, Education Week, January 4, 2007

Rural Minnesota County Invests Early To Help Kids Succeed
Ericca Maas, Community Dividend, November 2006

Lessons Learned: A Review of Early Childhood Development Studies [pdf]
Jean Barr and Rob Grunewald, April 2006

A Proposal for Achieving High Returns on Early Childhood Development [pdf]
Rob Grunewald and Arthur J. Rolnick, March 2006

Early Childhood Development on a Large Scale
Rob Grunewald and Arthur J. Rolnick, The Region, June 2005

James Heckman on Early Childhood Education
The Region, June 2005

The Economics of Early Childhood Development: Lessons for Economic Policy Conference
October 17, 2003

Government’s role in early childhood development [pdf]
Tobias Madden and Naomi Cytron, September 2003

Early Childhood Development: Economic Development with a High Public Return
Rob Grunewald and Arthur J. Rolnick, fedgazette, March 2003

Early childhood development = economic development
Rob Grunewald and Arthur J. Rolnick, fedgazette, March 2003


From Other Federal Reserve Banks


Investing in People for Long-Term Prosperity
Jeffrey Lacker, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
April 15, 2015

Universally Available, Publicly Funded Early Education
MacEwan, Arthur. Communities & Banking (Boston Fed), Winter 2014

Educational Attainment and Economic Outcomes [pdf]
Eric Rosengren, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
April 5, 2013

Infrastructure Investment Begins with Children
Mav Pardee. Communities & Banking (Boston Fed), Spring 2012

Babies, Brains, and Abilities [pdf]
Betty Joyce Nash. Region Focus (Richmond Fed), 4th Quarter 2011

Early Childhood Education, Economic Development, and the Business Community
Dennis P. Lockhart, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
October 22, 2009

A New Convert’s Views on Early Childhood Education
Dennis P. Lockhart, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
September 22, 2008

Early Childhood Development and Economic Growth
President Jeffrey Lacker, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
July 27, 2007

Minds Matter: Early Childhood Education Meets Economic Development [pdf]
Betty Joyce Nash, Region Focus (Richmond Fed), Fall 2005