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

Author

Listed:
  • Doug Miller
  • Jens Ludwig

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)

Abstract

This paper exploits a new source of variation in Head Start funding to identify the programs effects on health and schooling. In 1965 the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) provided technical assistance to the 300 poorest counties in the U.S. to develop Head Start funding proposals. The result was a large and lasting discontinuity in Head Start funding rates at the OEO cutoff for grant-writing assistance, but no discontinuity in other forms of federal social spending. We find evidence of a large negative discontinuity at the OEO cutoff in mortality rates for children ages 5-9 from causes that could be affected by Head Start, but not for other mortality causes or birth cohorts that should not be affected by the program. We also find suggestive evidence for a positive effect of Head Start on educational attainment in both the 1990 Census, concentrated among those cohorts born late enough to have been exposed to the program, and among respondents in the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988.

Suggested Citation

  • Doug Miller & Jens Ludwig, 2005. "Does Head Start Improve Children?s Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," Working Papers 534, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:05-34
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    File URL: http://wp.econ.ucdavis.edu/05-34.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Muller & Lionel Page, 2016. "Born leaders: political selection and the relative age effect in the US Congress," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 179(3), pages 809-829, June.
    2. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs In Economics," Working Papers 1118, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    3. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
    4. Marinho Bertanha & Guido W. Imbens, 2014. "External Validity in Fuzzy Regression Discontinuity Designs," NBER Working Papers 20773, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Miron Tequame & Nyasha Tirivayi, 2015. "Higher education and fertility: Evidence from a natural experiment in Ethiopia," CINCH Working Paper Series 1509, Universitaet Duisburg-Essen, Competent in Competition and Health, revised Aug 2015.
    6. Yoichi Arai & Hidehiko Ichimura, 2014. "Simultaneous Selection of Optimal Bandwidths for the Sharp Regression Discontinuity Estimator," GRIPS Discussion Papers 14-03, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
    7. Yoichi Arai & Hidehiko Ichimura, 2013. "Optimal Bandwidth Selection for Differences of Nonparametric Estimators with an Application to the Sharp Regression Discontinuity Design," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-889, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    8. Jörg L. Spenkuch & David Toniatti, 2016. "Political Advertising and Election Outcomes," CESifo Working Paper Series 5780, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Philip M. Gleason & Alexandra M. Resch & Jillian A. Berk, 2012. "Replicating Experimental Impact Estimates Using a Regression Discontinuity Approach," Mathematica Policy Research Reports c7ecf8b35c8d402491d09b2d0, Mathematica Policy Research.
    10. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
    11. John M. Love, "undated". "24 Million and Counting: Reflections on 40 Years of Head Start Research in Support of Children and Families'," Mathematica Policy Research Reports efe1e96c51f64d2fb3f47ac7e, Mathematica Policy Research.
    12. Benjamin M. Marx & Lesley J. Turner, 2015. "Borrowing Trouble? Student Loans, the Cost of Borrowing, and Implications for the Effectiveness of Need-Based Grant Aid," NBER Working Papers 20850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Nazmul Chaudhury & Dilip Parajuli, 2010. "Conditional cash transfers and female schooling: the impact of the female school stipend programme on public school enrolments in Punjab, Pakistan," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(28), pages 3565-3583.
    14. de Lazzer, Jakob, 2016. "Non-monotonic Selection Issues in Electoral Regression Discontinuity Designs," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145845, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    15. Chiang, Hanley, 2009. "How accountability pressure on failing schools affects student achievement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(9-10), pages 1045-1057, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    heat start; reform; labor;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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