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Early Childhood Intervention and Life-Cycle Skill Development: Evidence from Head Start

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  • David Deming

Abstract

This paper provides new evidence on the long-term benefits of Head Start using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. I compare siblings who differ in their participation in the program, controlling for a variety of pre-treatment covariates. I estimate that Head Start participants gain 0.23 standard deviations on a summary index of young adult outcomes. This closes one-third of the gap between children with median and bottom quartile family income, and is about 80 percent as large as model programs such as Perry Preschool. The long-term impact for disadvantaged children is large despite "fadeout" of test score gains. (JEL H52, J13, I28, I38)

Suggested Citation

  • 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 111-134, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:1:y:2009:i:3:p:111-34
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.1.3.111
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2007. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 409-439.
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    9. Clive R Belfield & Milagros Nores & Steve Barnett & Lawrence Schweinhart, 2006. "The High/Scope Perry Preschool Program: Cost–Benefit Analysis Using Data from the Age-40 Followup," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(1).
    10. 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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    15. Anderson, Michael L., 2008. "Multiple Inference and Gender Differences in the Effects of Early Intervention: A Reevaluation of the Abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training Projects," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103(484), pages 1481-1495.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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