Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Uppsala University, Department of Economics

No 2012:5: Long Term Impacts of Compensatory Preschool on Health and Behavior: Evidence from Head Start

Pedro Carneiro () and Rita Ginja ()
Additional contact information
Pedro Carneiro: University College London
Rita Ginja: Department of Economics, Postal: Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract: This paper provides new estimates of the medium and long-term impacts of Head Start on the health and behavioral problems of its participants. We identify these impacts using discontinuities in the probability of participation induced by program eligibility rules. Our strategy allows us to identify the effect of Head Start for the set of individuals in the neighborhoods of multiple discontinuities, which vary with family size, state and year (as opposed to a smaller set of individuals neighboring a single discontinuity). Participation in the program reduces the incidence of behavioral problems, serious health problems and obesity of male children at ages 12 and 13. It also lowers depression and obesity among adolescents, and reduces engagement in criminal activities for young adults.

Keywords: Regression discontinuity design; early childhood development; non-cognitive skills; Head Start

JEL-codes: C21; I28; I38

82 pages, February 10, 2012

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