The Fund supports several networks of state health policymakers to help identify, inspire, and inform policy leaders.
The Milbank Memorial Fund supports two state leadership programs for legislative and executive branch state government officials committed to improving population health.
The Fund identifies and shares policy ideas and analysis on topics important to state health policymakers, particularly on issues related to state leadership, primary care, aging, and health care costs.
Keep up with news and updates from the Milbank Memorial Fund. And read the latest blogs from our thought leaders, including Fund President Christopher F. Koller.
The Fund publishes The Milbank Quarterly, as well as reports, issues briefs, and case studies on topics important to health policy leaders.
The Milbank Memorial Fund is is a nonpartisan foundation focused on improving the health of communities and entire populations.
August 18, 2021
Early View Original Scholarship Child health Social determinants of health
Liana B. Winett
Erika Franklin Fowler
Sarah E. Gollust
Back to The Milbank Quarterly
Context: Early childhood education (ECE) programs enhance the health and social well-being of children and families. This preregistered, randomized, controlled study tested the effectiveness of communication strategies to increase public support for state investments in affordable, accessible, and high-quality childcare for all.
Methods: At time 1 (August-September 2019), we randomly assigned members of an online research panel (n = 4,363) to read one of four messages promoting state investment in childcare policies and programs, or to a no-exposure control group. Messages included an argument-based message (“simple pro-policy”), a message preparing audiences for encountering and building resistance to opposing messages (“inoculation”), a story illustrating the structural nature of the problem and solution (“narrative”), and both inoculation and narrative messages (“combined”). At time 2 (two weeks later) a subset of respondents (n = 1,436) read an oppositional anti-policy message and, in two conditions, another narrative or inoculation message. Ordinary least squares regression compared groups’ levels of support for state investment in childcare policies and programs.
Findings: As hypothesized, respondents who read the narrative message had higher support for state investment in childcare policies than those who read the inoculation message or those in the no-exposure control group at time 1. Among respondents who were initially opposed to such investments, those who read the narrative had greater support than respondents who read the simple pro-policy message. Those who received the inoculation message at time 2 were more resistant to the anti-policy message than respondents who did not receive such a message, but effects from exposures to strategic messages at time 1 did not persist at follow-up.
Conclusions: Results offer guidance for policy advocates seeking to increase public support for early childhood policies and programs and could inform broader efforts to promote high-value policies with potential to improve population health.
Keywords: persuasive communication, education, early childhood, public policy, health policy, public opinion.
READ ON WILEY ONLINE LIBRARY
Get the Latest from the Milbank Memorial Fund
The Milbank Quarterly’s multidisciplinary approach and commitment to applying the best empirical research to practical policymaking offers in-depth assessments of the social, economic, political, historical, legal, and ethical dimensions of health and health care policy.