This paper describes a model and resulting simulations to assess the appropriate age structure of intervention in childhood on the theme: should we intervene early or late? We use asset theory approaches to construct a general model of state investment whose aim is to reduce inequality in human capital. We set out the key parameters of such a model, clarifying the assumptions that must be made by state planners or economists in assessing the relative value of targeted investment at different ages in the presence of a range of elements of uncertainty. We simulate the model showing how the age-investment schedule will vary under different assumptions. Early investment is highly valued because of the likely decline with age in effectiveness but the trade-offs are strongly moderated by other important assumptions around which there is uncertainty or are choice variables of the state planner.
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