Early Childhood Intervention and Life-Cycle Skill Development: Evidence from Head Start
Posted: 14 Nov 2009
Date Written: July 1, 2009
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.
Keywords: Head Start, NLSY, early childhood, long-term benefits, fadeout
JEL Classification: H52, J13, I28, I38
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