We investigated the perceived value of government programs on early-childhood development as a means of reducing childhood poverty. We incorporated preferences for the process as well as the outcome by developing two stated-preference survey instruments. One survey directly elicited respondents’ willingness to pay specifically for high-quality, intensive, early-childhood development programs at federal and state levels. A second survey elicited respondents’ preferences for increasing or decreasing taxes and reallocating expenditures between other government programs and early-childhood programs. We found that respondents cared greatly about how childhood poverty was reduced, not just reducing poverty per se. The perceived effectiveness of a program and ideological perspective were found to be important determinants of preferences for a poverty-reduction program. Respondents across all groups, including conservatives and respondents who perceived the effectiveness of early-childhood programs to be low, were not in favor of reducing the early-childhood program.
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