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Washington State Institute for Public Policy
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Seattle Social Development Project

Public Health & Prevention: School-based
Benefit-cost methods last updated December 2023.  Literature review updated March 2019.
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The Seattle Social Development Project (SSDP) targets youth in 1st to 6th grades to increase bonding to school and family as a protective measure against school failure, delinquency, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, and violence. The SSDP is a school-based program with annual teacher training in communication, effective classroom management, and cooperative learning. The program also provides a curriculum focused on child skill development in communication, negotiation, conflict resolution, and refusal skills to students in 1st grade. Parents are trained in behavior management, academic support, and skills to reduce risks for drug use.
For an overview of WSIPP's Benefit-Cost Model, please see this guide. The estimates shown are present value, life cycle benefits and costs. All dollars are expressed in the base year chosen for this analysis (2022). The chance the benefits exceed the costs are derived from a Monte Carlo risk analysis. The details on this, as well as the economic discount rates and other relevant parameters are described in our Technical Documentation.
Benefit-Cost Summary Statistics Per Participant
Benefits to:
Taxpayers $2,914 Benefits minus costs $5,760
Participants $4,777 Benefit to cost ratio $2.30
Others $4,355 Chance the program will produce
Indirect ($1,856) benefits greater than the costs 57%
Total benefits $10,190
Net program cost ($4,429)
Benefits minus cost $5,760

^WSIPP’s benefit-cost model does not monetize this outcome.

Meta-analysis is a statistical method to combine the results from separate studies on a program, policy, or topic in order to estimate its effect on an outcome. WSIPP systematically evaluates all credible evaluations we can locate on each topic. The outcomes measured are the types of program impacts that were measured in the research literature (for example, crime or educational attainment). Treatment N represents the total number of individuals or units in the treatment group across the included studies.

An effect size (ES) is a standard metric that summarizes the degree to which a program or policy affects a measured outcome. If the effect size is positive, the outcome increases. If the effect size is negative, the outcome decreases. See Estimating Program Effects Using Effect Sizes for additional information.

Adjusted effect sizes are used to calculate the benefits from our benefit cost model. WSIPP may adjust effect sizes based on methodological characteristics of the study. For example, we may adjust effect sizes when a study has a weak research design or when the program developer is involved in the research. The magnitude of these adjustments varies depending on the topic area.

WSIPP may also adjust the second ES measurement. Research shows the magnitude of some effect sizes decrease over time. For those effect sizes, we estimate outcome-based adjustments which we apply between the first time ES is estimated and the second time ES is estimated. We also report the unadjusted effect size to show the effect sizes before any adjustments have been made. More details about these adjustments can be found in our Technical Documentation.

Meta-Analysis of Program Effects
Outcomes measured Treatment age Primary or secondary participant No. of effect sizes Treatment N Adjusted effect sizes(ES) and standard errors(SE) used in the benefit - cost analysis Unadjusted effect size (random effects model)
First time ES is estimated Second time ES is estimated
ES SE Age ES SE Age ES p-value
6 Primary 1 156 -0.102 0.127 21 -0.102 0.127 31 -0.268 0.036
6 Primary 1 149 0.097 0.252 18 0.097 0.252 18 0.255 0.356
6 Primary 1 149 -0.135 0.280 18 -0.135 0.280 18 -0.355 0.241
6 Primary 1 149 -0.127 0.265 18 n/a n/a n/a -0.335 0.236
6 Primary 1 149 -0.146 0.288 18 n/a n/a n/a -0.385 0.160
6 Primary 1 149 -0.114 0.332 18 -0.114 0.332 18 -0.300 0.404
6 Primary 1 149 -0.011 0.253 18 -0.011 0.253 18 -0.030 0.905
6 Primary 1 149 -0.079 0.227 18 n/a n/a n/a -0.207 0.366
6 Primary 1 149 -0.006 0.227 18 -0.006 0.227 18 -0.017 0.940
6 Primary 1 146 -0.093 0.153 21 -0.048 0.187 23 -0.244 0.126
1 Secondary 1 149 -0.114 0.332 1 -0.114 0.332 1 -0.300 0.404
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1In addition to the outcomes measured in the meta-analysis table, WSIPP measures benefits and costs estimated from other outcomes associated with those reported in the evaluation literature. For example, empirical research demonstrates that high school graduation leads to reduced crime. These associated measures provide a more complete picture of the detailed costs and benefits of the program.

2“Others” includes benefits to people other than taxpayers and participants. Depending on the program, it could include reductions in crime victimization, the economic benefits from a more educated workforce, and the benefits from employer-paid health insurance.

3“Indirect benefits” includes estimates of the net changes in the value of a statistical life and net changes in the deadweight costs of taxation.
Detailed Monetary Benefit Estimates Per Participant
Affected outcome: Resulting benefits:1 Benefits accrue to:
Taxpayers Participants Others2 Indirect3 Total
Crime Criminal justice system $702 $0 $1,522 $351 $2,574
High school graduation Labor market earnings associated with high school graduation $2,206 $5,197 $2,822 $0 $10,225
Costs of higher education ($312) ($473) ($142) ($156) ($1,083)
K-12 grade repetition K-12 grade repetition $168 $0 $0 $84 $252
Major depressive disorder Health care associated with major depression $141 $40 $146 $71 $398
Mortality associated with depression $1 $1 $0 $7 $9
Teen births under age 18 Public assistance $3 ($1) $0 $1 $3
Alcohol use before end of high school Property loss associated with alcohol abuse or dependence $0 $0 $0 $0 $1
Subtotals $2,909 $4,765 $4,348 $358 $12,380
From secondary participant
Teen births (second generation) Labor market earnings associated with high school graduation $6 $13 $7 $0 $26
K-12 grade repetition $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Health care associated with smoking $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Costs of higher education ($1) ($1) $0 $0 ($3)
Mortality associated with smoking $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Subtotals $5 $12 $7 $0 $24
Program cost Adjustment for deadweight cost of program $0 $0 $0 ($2,215) ($2,215)
Totals $2,914 $4,777 $4,355 ($1,856) $10,190
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Detailed Annual Cost Estimates Per Participant
Annual cost Year dollars Summary
Program costs $499 1999 Present value of net program costs (in 2022 dollars) ($4,429)
Comparison costs $0 1999 Cost range (+ or -) 10%
The full per-participant cost to deliver the program over six years is taken from Hawkins, J.D., Catalano, R.F., Kosterman, R., Abbott, R., & Hill, K.G. (1999). Preventing adolescent health-risk behaviors by strengthening protection during childhood. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 153(3), 226-234.
The figures shown are estimates of the costs to implement programs in Washington. The comparison group costs reflect either no treatment or treatment as usual, depending on how effect sizes were calculated in the meta-analysis. The cost range reported above reflects potential variation or uncertainty in the cost estimate; more detail can be found in our Technical Documentation.
Benefits Minus Costs
Benefits by Perspective
Taxpayer Benefits by Source of Value
Benefits Minus Costs Over Time (Cumulative Discounted Dollars)
The graph above illustrates the estimated cumulative net benefits per-participant for the first fifty years beyond the initial investment in the program. We present these cash flows in discounted dollars. If the dollars are negative (bars below $0 line), the cumulative benefits do not outweigh the cost of the program up to that point in time. The program breaks even when the dollars reach $0. At this point, the total benefits to participants, taxpayers, and others, are equal to the cost of the program. If the dollars are above $0, the benefits of the program exceed the initial investment.

Citations Used in the Meta-Analysis

Hawkins, J.D., Catalano, R.F., Kosterman, R., Abbott, R., & Hill, K.G. (1999). Preventing adolescent health-risk behaviors by strengthening protection during childhood. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 153(3), 226-234.

Hawkins, J.D., Kosterman, R., Catalano, R.F., Hill, K.G., & Abbott, R.D. (2005). Promoting positive adult functioning through social development intervention in childhood: Long-term effects from the Seattle Social Development Project. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 159(1), 25-31.