“The Economic Value of Social and Emotional Learning,” authored by Clive Belfield, Brooks Bowden, Alli Klapp, Henry Levin, Robert Shand, and Sabine Zander, was released last month by the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. This report looks at results from several prominent social-emotional learning (SEL) programs in order to offer an assessment of the potential economic returns to SEL investments.
Based on economic evidence that included program-based findings, earnings, and educational achievement, the authors found that all assessed programs demonstrated measurable benefits that exceeded their costs, noting, “On average, for every dollar invested equally across the six SEL interventions, there is a return of eleven dollars, a substantial economic return.”
Following a section on the SEL cost-benefit framework, the report describes each SEL program in terms of its specific benefits and costs. These sections share methodology in detail, not only to present persuasive evidence for the economic value of SEL interventions, but also to encourage researchers and program designers to think and assess in terms of economic impact.