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Does Head Start Improve Children's Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design

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  • Ludwig, Jens

    ()
    (University of Chicago)

  • Miller, Douglas L.

    ()
    (University of California, Davis)

Abstract

This paper exploits a new source of variation in Head Start funding to identify the program’s effects on health and schooling. In 1965 the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) provided technical assistance to the 300 poorest counties to develop Head Start proposals. The result was a large and lasting discontinuity in Head Start funding rates at the OEO cutoff for grant-writing assistance. We find evidence of a large drop at the OEO cutoff in mortality rates for children from causes that could be affected by Head Start, as well as suggestive evidence for a positive effect on educational attainment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2111.

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Length: 60 pages
Date of creation: May 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2007, 122 (1), 159-208
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2111

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Keywords: schooling; poverty; early childhood education; health; Head Start;

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References

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  1. Thomas, D. & Currie, J., 1993. "Does Head Start Make a Difference?," Papers 694, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  2. Janet Currie, 2001. "Early Childhood Education Programs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 213-238, Spring.
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  4. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 2000. "School Quality and the Longer-Term Effects of Head Start," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 755-774.
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  8. Donohue, John J, III & Siegelman, Peter, 1998. "Allocating Resources among Prisons and Social Programs in the Battle against Crime," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 1-43, January.
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  15. Anne Case & Angela Fertig & Christina Paxson, 2003. "From Cradle to Grave? The Lasting Impact of Childhood Health and Circumstance," NBER Working Papers 9788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Janet Currie & V. Joseph Hotz, 2001. "Accidents Will Happen? Unintentional Injury, Maternal Employment, and Child Care Policy," NBER Working Papers 8090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 1999. "Education and Income in the Early 20th Century: Evidence from the Prairies," NBER Working Papers 7217, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jens Ludwig & Lawrence F. Katz, 2005. "Neighborhood Effects on Crime for Female and Male Youth: Evidence from a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 120(1), pages 87-130, January.
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  21. repec:reg:wpaper:193 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
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