Katherine Magnuson

Katherine Magnuson
University of Wisconsin–Madison | UW · Institute for Research on Poverty,

About

109
Publications
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Publications

Publications (109)
Article
Full-text available
Background Policy debates over anti-poverty programs are often marked by pernicious stereotypes suggesting that direct cash transfers to people residing in poverty encourage health-risking behaviors such as smoking, drinking, and other substance use. Causal evidence on this issue is limited in the U.S. Given the prominent role of child allowances a...
Article
Early childhood education contributes to improved school readiness but impacts on high school remain unclear. This study estimates the effects of Tulsa, Oklahoma's universal pre‐K and Head Start programs through the junior year of high school (in 2018/2019; N = 2902; Mage = 16.52, SD = .39; 48% female; 28% white, 34% Black, 27% Hispanic, 8% Native...
Article
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Early childhood poverty is a risk factor for lower school achievement, reduced earnings, and poorer health, and has been associated with differences in brain structure and function. Whether poverty causes differences in neurodevelopment, or is merely associated with factors that cause such differences, remains unclear. Here, we report estimates of...
Article
Childhood economic disadvantage is associated with lower cognitive and social-emotional skills, reduced educational attainment, and lower earnings in adulthood. Despite these robust correlations, it is unclear whether family income is the cause of differences observed between children growing up in poverty and their more fortunate peers or whether...
Article
Income inequality has increased steadily over the past 40 years. We briefly review the nature and causes of this increase and show that income‐based gaps in children's academic achievement and attainment grew as well. To probe whether the increasing income gaps may have played a role in producing the growing achievement and attainment gaps, we summ...
Article
Research Findings: This study uses data from a comprehensive meta-analytic database of early childhood education (ECE) program evaluations published between 1960 and 2007 in the United States to examine the incremental effects of adding enhancement program components to ECE programs on children’s cognitive abilities, pre-academic skills, behavioral...
Article
The potential of parent training and professional development programs for improving early childhood experiences and later outcomes is well established. Yet traditional models of training and support, which largely consist of providing information to parents and teachers, have not met the needs of caregivers who experience the greatest levels of ad...
Article
Cambridge Core - Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology - Human Development across Lives and Generations - edited by P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale
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This study examines the associations of teachers’ levels of education and professional training with observed classroom quality and children's school readiness in community-based child care centers. Prior research provides mixed evidence about whether teachers’ education predicts early childhood education (ECE) classroom quality and children's outc...
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Prior research shows that short-term effects from preschool may disappear, but little research has considered which environmental conditions might sustain academic advantages from preschool into elementary school. Using secondary data from two preschool experiments, we investigate whether features of elementary schools, particularly advanced conten...
Preprint
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Over the past five decades, early childhood education (ECE) and family support (FS) programs have offered teenage mothers an opportunity to build their resiliency by harnessing a strong network of socioeconomic and psychosocial resources. Yet, questions remain about the effectiveness of these programs and program components for teenage mothers, who...
Article
Despite calls to expand early childhood education (ECE) in the United States, questions remain regarding its medium- and long-term impacts on educational outcomes. We use meta-analysis of 22 high-quality experimental and quasi-experimental studies conducted between 1960 and 2016 to find that on average, participation in ECE leads to statistically s...
Article
This study uses data from a comprehensive database of U.S. early childhood education program evaluations published between 1960 and 2007 to evaluate the relationship between class size, child–teacher ratio, and program effect sizes for cognitive, achievement, and socioemotional outcomes. Both class size and child–teacher ratio showed nonlinear rela...
Article
This paper examines how neighborhood and family poverty predict children's academic skills and classroom behavior at school entry, and whether associations have changed over a period of twelve years spanning the Great Recession. Utilizing the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Kindergarten 1998 and 2010 cohorts and combined with data from the U.S....
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In the United States, does growing up in a poor household cause negative developmental outcomes for children? Hundreds of studies have documented statistical associations between family income in childhood and a host of outcomes in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Many of these studies have used correlational evidence to draw policy conclusio...
Article
A meta-analysis was conducted to examine gender differences in the effects of early childhood education programs on children’s cognitive, academic, behavioral, and adult outcomes. Significant and roughly equal impacts for boys and girls on cognitive and achievement measures were found, although there were no significant effects for either gender on...
Article
Many early childhood education (ECE) programs seek to enhance parents' capacities to support their children's development. Using a meta-analytic database of 46 studies of ECE programs that served children age three to five-years-old, we examine the benefits to children's cognitive and pre-academic skills of adding parenting education to ECE program...
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We use data from the 1968–2013 October Current Population Survey to document trends in 3- and 4-year-old children’s enrollment in center-based early childhood education, focusing on gaps in enrollment among children from low-, middle-, and high-income families. We find that income-related gaps in enrollment widened in the 1970s and 1980s but appear...
Article
This paper considers whether expanding access to center-based early childhood education (ECE) will reduce economic inequality later in life. A strong evidence base indicates that ECE is effective at improving young children's academic skills and human capital development. We review evidence that children from low-income families have lower rates of...
Article
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Although school attainment is a cumulative process combining mastery of both academic and behavioral skills, most studies have offered only a piecemeal view of the associations between middle-childhood capacities and subsequent schooling outcomes. Using a 20-year longitudinal data set, this study estimates the association between children’s academi...
Article
Compared with their higher-income counterparts, children growing up in low-income families in the United States typically complete less schooling, report worse health, and work and earn less in adulthood. Moreover, changes in the American economy over the last 40 years have raised the level of skills and qualifications that children need to obtain...
Article
Parents strongly influence their children’s development, and prekindergarten and early elementary programs-especially those serving children at risk for low achievement because of their family backgrounds-often feature programming to support parents’ role in their children’s learning. Despite the prevalence of such programs, however, we have little...
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Early childhood education (ECE) programs offer a promising mechanism for preventing early externalizing behavior problems and later antisocial behavior; yet, questions remain about how to best maximize ECE's potential. Using a meta-analytic database of 31 studies, we examined the overall effect of ECE on externalizing behavior problems and the diff...
Article
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Families who live in poverty face disadvantages that can hinder their children’s development in many ways, write Greg Duncan, Katherine Magnuson, and Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal. As they struggle to get by economically, and as they cope with substandard housing, unsafe neighborhoods, and inadequate schools, poor families experience more stress in their...
Chapter
This chapter examines the extent to which disadvantaged children are able to access high quality early childhood education and care in the US. It describes the split in responsibilities between federal and state (and local) governments, and underlines the key role played by the private sector, including for-profit providers. Significant disparities...
Chapter
In this book, leading experts examine how early education and care is organised and funded in eight different countries. Bringing together recent evidence, the book provides rich insights on how policies work in practice, and the extent to which they help or hinder the provision of high quality education and care.
Article
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Most poor children achieve less, exhibit more problem behaviors, and are less healthy than children reared in more affluent families. We look beyond correlations such as these to a recent set of US-based studies that attempt to assess the causal impact of childhood poverty on later attainment. We pay particular attention to the potentially harmful...
Article
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This study uses geocoded address data and information about parent's economic behavior and children's development from four random-assignment welfare and anti-poverty experiments conducted during the 1990s. We find that the impacts of these welfare and anti-poverty programs on boys' and girls' developmental outcomes during the transition to early a...
Article
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We summarize the available evidence on the extent to which expenditures on early childhood education programs constitute worthy social investments in the human capital of children. We provide an overview of existing early childhood education programs, and then summarize results from a substantial body of methodologically sound evaluations of the im...
Article
Using a poverty line set at 60% of New Zealand’s median national income, nearly one in five New Zealand children (19%) was poor in 2011 (Figure 1, based on Perry, 2012). This poverty rate is considerably less than that of the United States and Canada, similar to that of Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany and France, and much greater that in Sca...
Article
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This study explores the extent to which differences in research design explain variation in Head Start program impacts. We employ meta-analytic techniques to predict effect sizes for cognitive and achievement outcomes as a function of the type and rigor of research design, quality and type of outcome measure, activity level of control group, and at...
Article
Previous studies have found that child care subsidy spells are often short and that multiple spells are common. Such instability in subsidy use may lead to instability in child care arrangements, yet we have little evidence of the relationship between them. This article focuses on a cohort of young children in Wisconsin and follows their patterns o...
Article
Full-text available
Most poor children achieve less, exhibit more problem behaviors and are less healthy than children reared in more affluent families. We look beyond correlations such as these to a recent set of studies that attempt to assess the causal impact of childhood poverty on adult well-being. We pay particular attention to the potentially harmful effects of...
Article
Full-text available
A growing body of cognitive research uses sophisticated behavioral and neuroimaging measurements to demonstrate associations between family socioeconomic status (SES) and specific cognitive functions. We argue for the value in these kinds of studies of increased sophistication in the measurement and modeling of SES. With regard to measurement, SES...
Article
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Child care and early education policies may not only raise average achievement but may also be of special benefit for less advantaged children, in particular if programs are high quality. We test whether high quality child care is equalizing using rich longitudinal data from two comparison countries, Denmark and the United States. In Denmark, we fi...
Article
This study examines the effects of nonresident fathers' provision of formal and informal cash child support on children's cognitive skills and behavior at 5 years of age. Taking advantage of the panel structure of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we control for child outcomes at age 3 and a rich set of child and family sociodemograph...
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This article uses data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine whether family instability is associated with changes in perceived social support, material hardship, maternal depression, and parenting stress among mothers of young children. In addition to accounting for the number of transitions that a mother experiences durin...
Article
is a project that examines the effects of welfare, antipoverty, and employment policies on children and families. Drawing on rich data from recent welfare reform evaluations, the project aims to inform the work of policymakers, practitioners, and researchers by identifying policy-relevant lessons that cut across evaluations. Foundation partners The...
Article
This article examines what we know about how low-income fathers matter for children. The authors first provide a theoretical background about how parents generally (and fathers more specifically) are expected to influence children’s development and well-being. The authors note the importance of considering differences across children’s age, gender,...
Article
It has become normative for children to attend some type of early education before entering kindergarten; yet, gaps in enrollment suggest that children from low-income families, who might benefit the most from such services, remain the least likely to receive them. The public sector engages in two main policy strategies to address this gap, providi...
Article
The preschool-to-third grade perspective has helped the early childhood field move away from a reliance on relatively brief or one-shot programs toward more systematic and comprehensive models that span most of children's first decade. We review the knowledge base on the effectiveness of preschool-to-third grade intervention programs and practices...
Article
Using longitudinal data from the Maternal and Child Supplement of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (N = 3,862) and Hierarchical Linear Models, we estimated associations of family structure states and transitions with children's achievement and behavior trajectories during middle childhood. Results suggest that residing in a single-mother f...
Article
Identifying the conditions, contexts, and processes through which children, adolescents, and adults acquire academic skills and subsequent educational attainments is of critical importance for developmental science and for policy and practice. This special issue of the Merrill-Palmer Quarterly was assembled with the aim of advancing understanding o...
Article
Maternal education is a strong correlate of children’s language, cognitive, and academic development. In most prior research, mothers’ education has been treated as a fixed characteristic, yet many mothers, particularly economically and educationally disadvantaged mothers, attend school after the birth of their children. In the present study, we us...
Article
Identifying the conditions, contexts, and processes through which children, adolescents, and adults acquire academic skills and subsequent educational attainments is of critical importance for developmental science and for policy and practice. This special issue of the Merrill-Palmer Quarterly was assembled with the aim of advancing understanding o...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, the authors aim to make accessible the careful application of a method called instrumental variables (IV). Under the right analytic conditions, IV is one promising strategy for answering questions about the causal nature of associations and, in so doing, can advance developmental theory. The authors build on prior work combining th...
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Reports an error in "School readiness and later achievement" by Greg J. Duncan, Chantelle J. Dowsett, Amy Claessens, Katherine Magnuson, Aletha C. Huston, Pamela Klebanov, Linda S. Pagani, Leon Feinstein, Mimi Engel, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Holly Sexton, Kathryn Duckworth and Crista Japel (Developmental Psychology, 2007[Nov], Vol 43[6], 1428-1446). The...
Article
How do recent changes in economic inequality and related social dimensions of inequality relate to trends in black-white test score gaps? In this chapter, we provide new evidence on the question, analyzing the links between inequality and black-white achievement trends for nine-year-olds using the National Assessment of Educational Progress Long-Te...
Book
Addressing the disparity in test scores between black and white children remains one of the greatest social challenges of our time. Between the 1960s and 1980s, tremendous strides were made in closing the achievement gap, but that remarkable progress halted abruptly in the mid 1980s, and stagnated throughout the 1990s. How can we understand these s...
Chapter
Full-text available
Social policies are often motivated by compassion or justice, but sometimes their proponents argue that they constitute worthy social “investments.” Just as business decisions take into account the effect of an investment on a company’s bottom line, it is useful to ask whether government expenditures that “invest” in children’s cognitive and behavi...
Article
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Using 6 longitudinal data sets, the authors estimate links between three key elements of school readiness--school-entry academic, attention, and socioemotional skills--and later school reading and math achievement. In an effort to isolate the effects of these school-entry skills, the authors ensured that most of their regression models control for...
Article
Despite much evidence that links mothers' educational attainment to children's academic outcomes, studies have not established whether increases in mothers' education will improve their children's academic achievement. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth on children between the ages of 6 and 12, this study examined whether inc...
Article
ABSTRACT—Although much developmental research is focused on basic science, some applied studies aspire to concrete policy recommendations. We suggest several steps that these studies might take to increase their chances of success. Scaling policy-relevant variables in useful ways is a simple example. Most important is providing even rough estimates...
Article
This analysis summarizes trends in family economic well-being from five non-experimental, longitudinal welfare-to-work studies launched following the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA). The studies include a sizable group of parents and other caregivers who received TANF at the point of s...
Article
Using rich longitudinal data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten cohort (ECLS-K), we find that children who attended preschool enter public schools with higher levels of academic skills than their peers who experienced other types of child care (effect size of .14). This study considers the circumstances under which the prescho...
Article
Full-text available
Although the share of all 3- and 4-year-old children enrolled in center-based care and early education has grown steadily in recent decades, rates of enrollment for children from low-income families still lag behind those for children from families with high incomes. During the 1990s, growing public funding for compensatory preschool education and...
Article
Prekindergarten programs are expanding rapidly, but to date, evidence on their effects is quite limited. Using rich data from Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, we estimate the effects of prekindergarten on children's school readiness. We find that prekindergarten increases reading and mathematics skills at school entry, but also increases behavio...
Article
Full-text available
Greg Duncan, Jens Ludwig, and Katherine Magnuson explain how providing high-quality care to disadvantaged preschool children can help reduce poverty. In early childhood, they note, children's cognitive and socioemotional skills develop rapidly and are sensitive to "inputs" from parents, home learning environments, child care settings, and the healt...
Article
HIGH POVERTY rates among single mother families and the consequent hardships their children face have focused attention on the role of absent fathers and child support as antipoverty strategy. Nationally, nearly 75 percent of custodial parents receive some kind of financial support from noncustodial parents (Grall 2003), but the percentage of low-i...
Article
This paper reviews evidence on the family origins of racial differences in young children’s test scores and considers how much of the gap is due to differences in the economic and demographic conditions in which black and white children grow up. Our review of the literature finds that the estimated size of the gaps varies considerably across studie...
Article
Objective. In this article, we use data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey—Kindergarten Cohort to analyze the links between preschool attendance and the school readiness of children of immigrants. Methods. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey—Kindergarten Cohort, we estimate multivariate regression models for the effect...
Article
American children spend their elementary school years in diverse conditions. For some children, high family incomes provide large houses, safe neighborhoods, and enriching learning opportunities, while for others, middle childhood is a time of economic deprivation. Some children attend safe schools with highly qualified and caring teachers, while o...
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This paper uses data from 2 randomized evaluations of welfare-to-work programs—the Minnesota Family Investment Program and the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies—to estimate the effect of employment on domestic abuse among low-income single mothers. Unique to our analysis is the application of a 2-stage least squares method, in which...
Article
Parenting practices, including the use of physical discipline, are shaped by multiple influences. Although much research focuses on how parent, child, and dyadic characteristics shape parenting practices, extra-familial resources may also play a role. This paper focuses on how children's experiences of child care during the preschool years may affe...
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This article considers whether the disparate socioeconomic circumstances of families in which white, black, and Hispanic children grow up account for the racial and ethnic gaps in school readiness among American preschoolers. It first reviews why family socioeconomic resources might matter for children's school readiness. The authors concentrate on...
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Full-text available
The authors examine black, white, and Hispanic children's differing experiences in early childhood care and education and explore links between these experiences and racial and ethnic gaps in school readiness. Children who attend center care or preschool programs enter school more ready to learn, but both the share of children enrolled in these pro...