Orla Doyle Barrington Lecture

(from email by Sean Lyons)

A meeting of the Statistical & Social Inquiry Society of Ireland will take place on Wednesday, 18th April 2012, starting at 6:00 pm, in the Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2. Dr Orla Doyle (UCD School of Economics and Geary Institute) will present a paper titled Breaking the Cycle of Deprivation: An Experimental Evaluation of an Early Childhood Intervention.

The abstract is set out below and a draft of the paper is available here.

Deprivation early in life has multiple long term consequences for both the individual and society. An increasing body of evidence finds that targeted, early interventions aimed at at-risk children and their families can reduce socioeconomic inequalities in children’s skills and capabilities. This paper describes a randomised control trial (RCT) evaluation of a five-year preventative programme which aims to improve the school readiness skills of socioeconomically disadvantaged children. The Preparing for Life (PFL) programme is one of the first studies in Ireland to use random assignment to experimentally modify the environment of high risk families and track its impact over time. This paper describes the design and motivation for the study, the randomisation procedure adopted and the baseline data collected. Using Monte Carlo permutation testing, it finds that the randomisation procedure was successful as there are no systematic differences between the treatment and control groups at baseline. This indicates that future analysis of treatment effects over the course of the five year evaluation can be causally attributed to the programme and used to determine the impact of Preparing for Life on children’s school readiness skills.

8 replies on “Orla Doyle Barrington Lecture”

This looks like a really interesting paper. Any focus on deprivation at this stage is welcome. I mean, the silence by economists on yesterdays findings by the credit union on the impact of the crisis on distribution (and by default, aggregate demand) is deafening.

I would also suggest potential middleclass teenagars be given at least a 1 year intensive course on the dangers of finance and its insidious influence indeed dominance of all political & social affairs.
Indeed the core motto would be “Do not believe what it says on the tin.”
To even question the motives of your teachers.
Believe nothing before you internalise your thoughts using logic & scepticism of all things.

This role will be especially important when this depression generation are all dead – when the cycle is likely to start again if civilisation still exists during that time.
As this is when the Larry Summers / Grima Wormtongue characters are likely to have most influence while whispering “advice” into weak Kings ears.

I have a prob in opening file? Others?

Sounds like very useful work; as it is well known that key predictors of outcomes around here are [i] social class, and [ii] ability – and I suspect the former is a greater predictor.

@ DO’D

Eventually got it open but no Tables or graphs – error message from adobe.

‘Specifically, the one-to-one mentoring component of the PFL programme will
promote change in parents’ knowledge, attitudes and well-being, ultimately influencing the child’s development. For example, it is hypothesised that parents involved in the programme will learn more about healthy child development and how to nurture it, they will develop higher aspirations for their children, they will have better physical health themselves and their
self-confidence will increase (Preparing for Life & The Northside Partnership, 2008).

These factors will have a positive impact on parental psychological well-being and morale, which in turn will contribute to increased enjoyment of parenting and the development of a more positive relationship and attachment style to their children.’

I couldn’t agree more – anything would be better than Eastenders levels of parental instruction and role models.

@ Dork

“I would also suggest potential middleclass teenagars be given at least a 1 year intensive course on the dangers of finance and its insidious influence indeed dominance of all political & social affairs.”

Everyone should learn about finance.
And re insidious influence how about this ? China but so relevant to Ireland.


“If they don’t release enough evidence on Bo’s crimes then the public will assume he was a good, upright official who is just being persecuted,” says Mr Li from Brookings. “But if they release too many sordid details then everyone will ask how such people could be the top leaders of the country and they will suspect that all the others are like this, too.”

For some reason, Firefox has a problem with the figures. If you download the document and open it in a pdf reader it seems to work. It also seems to work in other browsers.

“The Pope’s Children have fallen into an increasingly classless society where, like our dear leader Bertie Ahern, anyone can make it. ”

McWilliams, 2005

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