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The Relative Performance of Head Start

Author

Listed:
  • Cory Koedel

    (Department of Economics, University of Missouri, 118 Professional Building, Columbia, MO 65211, USA)

  • Teerachat Techapaisarnjaroenkit

    (Department of Economics, University of Missouri, 118 Professional Building, Columbia, MO 65211, USA)

Abstract

In early 2010, the US Department of Health and Human Services released the findings from a large, experimental evaluation of the Head Start program. A common interpretation of the findings is that they show “small” effects, which has lead to, among other things, calls to improve the efficacy of Head Start. However, it is not clear that Head Start is performing worse than should be reasonably expected. To provide a frame of reference for evaluating the program, we compare the performance of Head Start childcare centers to the performance of non-Head Start childcare centers, the latter being the preferred childcare option of wealthier families. We find that, on average, Head Start centers perform similarly to non-Head Start centers. Our results suggest that expectations for the Head Start program may be too high.

Suggested Citation

  • Cory Koedel & Teerachat Techapaisarnjaroenkit, 2012. "The Relative Performance of Head Start," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 251-275.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:easeco:v:38:y:2012:i:2:p:251-275
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. David E. Frisvold & Julie C. Lumeng, 2011. "Expanding Exposure: Can Increasing the Daily Duration of Head Start Reduce Childhood Obesity?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(2), pages 373-402.
    3. Cory Koedel & Julian Betts, 2010. "Value Added to What? How a Ceiling in the Testing Instrument Influences Value-Added Estimation," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 5(1), pages 54-81, January.
    4. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren & David Sims, 2008. "The Persistence of Teacher-Induced Learning Gains," NBER Working Papers 14065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Jens Ludwig & Deborah A. Phillips, 2007. "The Benefits and Costs of Head Start," NBER Working Papers 12973, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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