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Getting inside the "Black Box" of Head Start quality: What matters and what doesn't

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  • Currie, Janet
  • Neidell, Matthew

Abstract

Critics of Head Start contend that many programs spend too much money on programs extraneous to education. On the other hand, Head Start advocates argue that severely disadvantaged children need a broad range of services. Given the available evidence, it has been impossible to assess the validity of these claims. In this study, we match detailed administrative data with data on child outcomes from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, including test scores, behavior problems, and grade repetition. We find that former Head Start children have higher reading scores and are less likely to have been retained in grade where Head Start spending was higher. Holding per capita expenditures constant, children in programs that devoted higher shares of their budgets to education and health have fewer behavior problems and are less likely to have been retained in grade. However, when we examine specific educational inputs holding per capita expenditures constant, only pupil/teacher ratios matter.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 26 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 83-99

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:26:y:2007:i:1:p:83-99

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

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References

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  1. Alan B. Krueger, 2000. "Economic Considerations and class size," Working Papers 975, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
  2. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 1996. "Does Head Start Help Hispanic Children?," NBER Working Papers 5805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Angrist, Joshua & Guryan, Jonathan, 2005. "Does Teacher Testing Raise Teacher Quality? Evidence from State Certification Requirements," IZA Discussion Papers 1500, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Currie, Janet & Thomas, Duncan, 1995. "Does Head Start Make a Difference?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 341-64, June.
  5. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 1998. "School Quality and the Longer-Term Effects of Head Start," NBER Working Papers 6362, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Eliana Garces & Duncan Thomas & Janet Currie, 2002. "Longer-Term Effects of Head Start," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 999-1012, September.
  7. Janet Currie, 2000. "Early Childhood Intervention Programs: What Do We Know?," JCPR Working Papers 169, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
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Cited by:
  1. Shapiro, Joseph & Trevino, Jorge Moreno, 2004. "Compensatory education for disadvantaged Mexican students : an impact evaluation using propensity score matching," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3334, The World Bank.
  2. Flores, Carlos A. & Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso, 2009. "Identification and Estimation of Causal Mechanisms and Net Effects of a Treatment under Unconfoundedness," IZA Discussion Papers 4237, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Jens Ludwig & Deborah A. Phillips, 2007. "The Benefits and Costs of Head Start," NBER Working Papers 12973, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Carlos A. Flores & Alfonso Flores-Lagunes, 2007. "Identification and Estimation of Casual Mechanisms and Net Effects of a Treatment," Working Papers 0706, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
  5. Lee, Kyunghee, 2010. "Do early academic achievement and behavior problems predict long-term effects among Head Start children?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(12), pages 1690-1703, December.
  6. Joo, Myungkook, 2010. "Long-term effects of Head Start on academic and school outcomes of children in persistent poverty: Girls vs. boys," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 807-814, June.
  7. David Deming, 2009. "Early Childhood Intervention and Life-Cycle Skill Development: Evidence from Head Start," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 111-34, July.
  8. Wong, Ho Lun & Luo, Renfu & Zhang, Linxiu & Rozelle, Scott, 2013. "The impact of vouchers on preschool attendance and elementary school readiness: A randomized controlled trial in rural China," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 53-65.
  9. Magnuson, Katherine & Shager, Hilary, 2010. "Early education: Progress and promise for children from low-income families," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1186-1198, September.

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