I missed this last year, but a new-ish paper from Elizabeth Cascio “reveals a substantial positive effect of attending pre-K on cognitive test scores at age 4, but only for low-income children enrolled in universal programs. Both universal and targeted programs displace enrollment in other center-based care, and differences in state standards cannot explain the higher impacts of universal programs for low-income children. Together, these findings suggest that universal programs offer a relatively high-quality learning experience for low-income 4 year olds not reflected in the quality metrics frequently targeted by policymakers.”
Peter Lindert at VoxEU: "Since the late 1970s, several governments have shown a mission drift away from investing in lower-income children and working-age adults, while concentrating social insurance on the elderly. Japan, the US, and some Mediterranean countries have missed an opportunity for pro-growth income-levelling."
Poverty in the South, hookworm edition: “Hookworm was rampant in the deep south of the US in the earlier 20th century, sapping the energy and educational achievements of both white and black kids and helping to create the stereotype of the lazy and lethargic southern redneck. As public health improved, most experts assumed it had disappeared altogether by the 1980s. But the new study reveals that hookworm not only survives in communities of Americans lacking even basic sanitation, but does so on a breathtaking scale.”
From Larry Summers: “"[T]he current WHO budget for pandemic flu is less than the salary of the University of Michigan's football coach.”