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Does Head Start Do Any Lasting Good?

Author

Listed:
  • Chloe Gibbs
  • Jens Ludwig
  • Douglas L. Miller

Abstract

Head Start is a federal early childhood intervention designed to reduce disparities in preschool outcomes. The first randomized experimental study of Head Start, the National Head Start Impact Study (NHSIS), found impacts on academic outcomes of .15 to .3 standard deviations measured at the end of the program year, although the estimated impacts were no longer significant when measured at the end of kindergarten or first grade. Assessments that Head Start is ineffective based on the NHSIS results are in our view premature, given our currently limited understanding of how and why early childhood education improves long-term life chances. Many of the specific changes to Head Start that have been proposed could potentially wind up doing more harm than good.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17452
    Note: CH
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
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    3. 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.
    4. Currie, Janet & Thomas, Duncan, 1995. "Does Head Start Make a Difference?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 341-364, June.
    5. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 1999. "Early Test Scores, Socioeconomic Status and Future Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 6943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 155-189, March.
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    8. Murnane, Richard J & Willett, John B & Levy, Frank, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 251-266, May.
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    11. Jens Ludwig & Deborah A. Phillips, 2007. "The Benefits and Costs of Head Start," NBER Working Papers 12973, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Magnuson, Katherine A. & Ruhm, Christopher & Waldfogel, Jane, 2007. "Does prekindergarten improve school preparation and performance?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 33-51, February.
    13. 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).
    14. Vivian C. Wong & Thomas D. Cook & W. Steven Barnett & Kwanghee Jung, 2008. "An effectiveness-based evaluation of five state pre-kindergarten programs," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(1), pages 122-154.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Monique De Haan & Edwin Leuven, 2016. "Head Start and the Distribution of Long Term Education and Labor Market Outcomes," CESifo Working Paper Series 5870, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Zhai, Fuhua & Raver, C. Cybele & Jones, Stephanie M., 2012. "Academic performance of subsequent schools and impacts of early interventions: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial in Head Start settings," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 946-954.
    6. Alexander M. Gelber & Adam Isen, 2011. "Children's Schooling and Parents' Investment in Children: Evidence from the Head Start Impact Study," NBER Working Papers 17704, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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