IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/oup/qjecon/v131y2016i4p1795-1848..html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Evaluating Public Programs with Close Substitutes: The Case of HeadStart

Author

Listed:
  • Patrick Kline
  • Christopher R. Walters

Abstract

We use data from the Head Start Impact Study (HSIS) to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of Head Start, the largest early childhood education program in the United States. Head Start draws roughly a third of its participants from competing preschool programs, many of which receive public funds. We show that accounting for the fiscal impacts of such program substitution pushes estimates of Head Start’s benefit-cost ratio well above one under a wide range of assumptions on the structure of the market for preschool services and the dollar value of test score gains. To parse the program’s test score impacts relative to home care and competing preschools, we selection-correct test scores in each care environment using excluded interactions between experimental assignments and household characteristics. We find that Head Start generates larger test score gains for children who would not otherwise attend preschool and for children who are less likely to participate in the program.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick Kline & Christopher R. Walters, 2016. "Evaluating Public Programs with Close Substitutes: The Case of HeadStart," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(4), pages 1795-1848.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:131:y:2016:i:4:p:1795-1848.
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/qjw027
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James Heckman & Seong Hyeok Moon & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter Savelyev & Adam Yavitz, 2010. "Analyzing social experiments as implemented: A reexamination of the evidence from the HighScope Perry Preschool Program," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(1), pages 1-46, July.
    2. Joseph J. Doyle Jr., 2007. "Child Protection and Child Outcomes: Measuring the Effects of Foster Care," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1583-1610, December.
    3. Behaghel, Luc & Crépon, Bruno & Gurgand, Marc, 2013. "Robustness of the Encouragement Design in a Two-Treatment Randomized Control Trial," IZA Discussion Papers 7447, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Geweke, John, 1989. "Bayesian Inference in Econometric Models Using Monte Carlo Integration," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1317-1339, November.
    5. James Heckman & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter Savelyev, 2013. "Understanding the Mechanisms through Which an Influential Early Childhood Program Boosted Adult Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2052-2086, October.
    6. Aaberge, Rolf & Bhuller, Manudeep & Langørgen, Audun & Mogstad, Magne, 2010. "The distributional impact of public services when needs differ," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 549-562, October.
    7. Aaberge, Rolf & Langørgen, Audun & Mogstad, Magne & Østensen, Marit, 2008. "The Impact of Local Public Services and Geographical Cost of Living Differences on Poverty Estimates," IZA Discussion Papers 3686, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Heckman, James J. & Moon, Seong Hyeok & Pinto, Rodrigo & Savelyev, Peter A. & Yavitz, Adam, 2010. "The rate of return to the HighScope Perry Preschool Program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 114-128, February.
    9. Keane, Michael P, 1994. "A Computationally Practical Simulation Estimator for Panel Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(1), pages 95-116, January.
    10. Milligan, Kevin & Moretti, Enrico & Oreopoulos, Philip, 2004. "Does education improve citizenship? Evidence from the United States and the United Kingdom," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1667-1695, August.
    11. Christopher Walters, 2014. "Inputs in the Production of Early Childhood Human Capital: Evidence from Head Start," NBER Working Papers 20639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Martin Huber & Giovanni Mellace, 2015. "Testing Instrument Validity for LATE Identification Based on Inequality Moment Constraints," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(2), pages 398-411, May.
    13. Lars Kirkebøen & Edwin Leuven & Magne Mogstad, 2014. "Field of Study, Earnings, and Self-Selection," NBER Working Papers 20816, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Christian N. Brinch & Magne Mogstad & Matthew Wiswall, 2012. "Beyond LATE with a discrete instrument. Heterogeneity in the quantity-quality interaction of children," Discussion Papers 703, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    15. Olsen, Randall J, 1980. "A Least Squares Correction for Selectivity Bias," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(7), pages 1815-1820, November.
    16. Jens Ludwig & Douglas L. Miller, 2007. "Does Head Start Improve Children's Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 159-208.
    17. Carneiro, Pedro & Lee, Sokbae, 2009. "Estimating distributions of potential outcomes using local instrumental variables with an application to changes in college enrollment and wage inequality," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 149(2), pages 191-208, April.
    18. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 8769.
    19. Erik Lindqvist & Roine Vestman, 2011. "The Labor Market Returns to Cognitive and Noncognitive Ability: Evidence from the Swedish Enlistment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 101-128, January.
    20. Aaron Sojourner, "undated". "Inference on Peer Effects with Missing Peer Data: Evidence from Project STAR," Working Papers 0109, Human Resources and Labor Studies, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus).
    21. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Joshua Angrist & Parag Pathak, 2014. "The Elite Illusion: Achievement Effects at Boston and New York Exam Schools," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(1), pages 137-196, January.
    22. A. D. Roy, 1951. "Some Thoughts On The Distribution Of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 135-146.
    23. Chloe Gibbs & Jens Ludwig & Douglas L. Miller, 2011. "Does Head Start Do Any Lasting Good?," NBER Working Papers 17452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Gelber, Alexander & Isen, Adam, 2013. "Children's schooling and parents' behavior: Evidence from the Head Start Impact Study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 25-38.
    25. Joseph J. Doyle Jr., 2008. "Child Protection and Adult Crime: Using Investigator Assignment to Estimate Causal Effects of Foster Care," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 746-770, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:131:y:2016:i:4:p:1795-1848.. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.