New Book: The Scale-Up Effect in Early Childhood and Public Policy


Written by leading experts in early childhood, economics, psychology, public health, philanthropy, and more, newly released The Scale-Up Effect in Early Childhood and Public Policy: Why Interventions Lose Impact at Scale and What We Can Do About It shines light on how to effectively use experimental insights for policy purposes. The book combines theoretical and empirical work across disciplines to explore what threatens scalability—and what enables it—in the early childhood field.

Cynthia Osborne, Ph.D.Dr. Cynthia Osborne, Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center director and LBJ School of Public Affairs Associate Dean for Academic Strategies, contributed the chapter Process to Identify Effective Policies to Strengthen the Prenatal-to-3 System of Care in this comprehensive and forward-thinking guide.

As leaders across the nation and around the world grapple with how to serve young children following the disruption of COVID-19, the volume offers important lessons and recommendations on how to design and select the programs and policies that are more likely to succeed at scale. It does not offer a silver bullet, but it clearly makes the case that everyone—from researchers to policymakers, from funders to practitioners—has a role to play in bringing truly scalable solutions to our most pressing challenges to life.

Osborne’s chapter, Process to Identify Effective Policies to Strengthen the Prenatal-to-3 System of Care, discusses the similarities and differences in identifying effective policies as compared to effective programs, details the process of identifying effective policies, and provides recommendations for policymakers to create an evidence-based policy agenda to strengthen the prenatal-to-3 system of care. The process is the foundation of the rigorous evidence reviews presented in the Prenatal-to-3 Policy Clearinghouse.


Table of Contents

1. Failed to Scale: Embracing the Challenge of Scaling in Early Childhood – Snigdha Gupta, Lauren Supplee, Dana Suskind, John List

2. Early Childhood: The Opportunity to Untap Human Potential – Kimberly G. Noble

3. How Cognitive Biases Can Undermine Program Scale-Up Decisions – Susan Mayer, Rohen Shah, and Ariel Kalil

4. How a Behavioral Economic Framework Can Support Scaling of Early Childhood Interventions – Lisa Gennetian

5. The Economics of Child Development with an Application to Home Visiting at Scale – James J. Heckman, Bei Liu, and Jin Zhou

Scaling: A Case Study – Liz Sablich

6. The Science of Using Science: A New Framework for Understanding the Threats to Scaling Evidence-Based Policies – Omar Al-Ubaydli, Min Sok Lee, John A. List, and Dana Suskind

7. When is Evidence Actionable? Assessing Whether a Program is Ready to Scale – John P.A. Ioannidis, Zacharias Maniadis and Fabio Tufano

8. Studying Properties of the Population: Designing Studies that Mirror Real World Scenarios – Jonathan Davis, Jonathan Guryan, Kelly Hallberg, Jens Ludwig

9. Fidelity and Properties of the Situation: Challenges and Recommendations – EB Caron, Kristin Bernard, and Allison Metz

10. Spillovers and Program Evaluation at Scale – Fatemeh Momeni and Daniel Tannenbaum

11. 70 to 700 to 70,000: Lessons from the Jamaica Experiment – M. Caridad Araujo, Marta Rubio-Codina, and Norbert Schady

Commentary: Real-world Application and Understanding of These Threats – Sophia Pappas

12. A Research Agenda Built for Scale – A. Mushfiq Mobarak, and C. Austin Davis

13. Designing Programs with an Eye Toward Scaling – Aaron R. Lyon

14. Accounting for Differences in Population: Predicting Intervention Impact at Scale – Elizabeth A. Stuart

15. Sustaining Impact after Scaling Using Data and Continuous Feedback  – David A. Chambers, Wynne E. Norton

16. Measurement Built for Scale: Designing and Using Measures of Intervention and Outcome that Facilitate Scaling Up – Scott McConnell and Howard Goldstein

Commentary: The Challenge of Measuring Costs at Scale – Meryl Yoches Barofksy, Rachel Herzfeldt-Kamprath, and Kyle Peplinski

17. Enabling Contexts to Support Scale-Up: Lessons from Early Head Start– Child Care Partnerships – Melissa Lim Brodowski and Sandra F. Naoom

18. Embedding Workforce Development into Scaled Innovations to Prevent Declines in Administration Quality – Debra Pacchiano, Maia Connors, Rebecca Klein, and Kelly Woodlock

19. Forging Collaborations for Scale: Catalyzing Partnerships Among Policymakers, Practitioners, Researchers, Funders, and Evidence to Policy Organizations – Samantha Carter, Iqbal Dhaliwal, Samantha Friedlander, and Claire Walsh

20. Process to Identify Effective Policies to Strengthen the Prenatal-to-Three System of Care – Cynthia Osborne

21. Building Political Will – Mary Young and Osmar Terra

22. Recommendations for Mitigating Threats to Scalability – Maggie C. Kane, Liz Sablich, Snigdha Gupta, Lauren Supplee, Dana Suskind, John A. List


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