Evidence-Based Strategies to Increase General Public and State Legislator Support for Policies to Fund and Enhance Early Childhood Development

There is strong evidence that investments in early childhood development can shape health and well-being in later stages of life. The researchers are evaluating the effect of a messaging intervention on Making Health A Shared Value Drivers: mindsets, expectations, and civic engagement related to early childhood development. Specifically, they are developing and testing the effects of values-based policy messages to promote funding and support for early childhood education. Findings will offer insights into building the mindsets and expectations needed to address the societal conditions and contexts that produce – or inhibit – healthy childhood development for all.




Primary Outcome: Public support for early childhood intervention policies

  • Degree to which respondents support specific targeted and non-targeted early childhood interventions and policies

Primary Outcome: Intention to advocate for early childhood intervention policies

  • Reported likelihood of engaging in a variety of policy-relevant advocacy and information-seeking behaviors.

Secondary Outcome: Increased public perceptions that these policies are effective

  • Level of agreement with potential benefits and costs of early childhood education policies

Secondary Outcome: Increased knowledge of burden by key social groups

  • Beliefs about extent to which social groups suffer from lack of early childhood resources (e.g., low vs. high income, racial/ethnic groups, rural vs. urban)

Secondary Outcome: Increased empathy toward groups without access to resources

  • Degree to which audience empathizes with people/families who suffer from lack of early childhood resources




The researchers are conducting two randomized, controlled trials—one among the general public and one among state legislators. In both studies, participants will be randomized into one of six study arms, each of which will receive different approaches and order of messaging.

Teacher and pre-schoolers with arts & crafts
Grantee and Partner organizations

Cornell University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Department of Communication

Grant status
Principal investigators
Jeff Niederdeppe, PhD
Liana Winett, DrPH, MPH, MCHES
Start date
Award amount
18 months

Stay Connected