Cornell University published a paper in 2004 that measured the stimulative effect of early education spending in each state’s economy. It found that for every dollar invested in early childhood programs in Oklahoma, $1.97 of additional economic activity was generated. In 2007, the state spent an estimated $121 million on pre-K and Head Start (very large PDF) – not counting local and private sources of funding (such as philanthropic) – which should return more than $238 million to the economy.
The impact generated by child care spending in Oklahoma – called a multiplier – is larger than the multipliers for every sector it was compared with, including agriculture, mineral, manufacturing, retail, and service industries. It also beat “like” sectors in education, job training, and public transit.