A Two-Generation Human Capital Approach to Anti-poverty Policy

Teresa Eckrich Sommer*, Terri J. Sabol, Elise Chor, William Schneider, Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, Jeanne Brooks Gunn Professor, Mario L. Small, Christopher King, Hirokazu Yoshikawa Professor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

6 Scopus citations


We propose a two-generation anti-poverty strategy to improve the economic fortunes of children in the United States. Our policy bridges two traditionally siloed interventions to boost their impacts: Head Start for children and career pathway training offered through community colleges for adults. We expect that an integrated two-generation human capital intervention will produce greater gains than either Head Start or community college alone for developmental and motivational, logistical and financial, social capital, and efficiency reasons. We suggest a competitive grant program to test and evaluate different models using federal dollars. We estimate average benefit-cost ratios across a range of promising career fields of 1.3 within five years and 7.9 within ten years if 10 percent of Head Start parents participate in two-generation programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-143
Number of pages26
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2018


  • Career pathway training
  • Child development
  • Head Start
  • Poverty
  • Two-generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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    Sommer, T. E., Sabol, T. J., Chor, E., Schneider, W., Chase-Lansdale, L., Professor, J. B. G., Small, M. L., King, C., & Professor, H. Y. (2018). A Two-Generation Human Capital Approach to Anti-poverty Policy. RSF, 4(3), 118-143. https://doi.org/10.7758/rsf.2018.4.3.07