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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Long Term Effects of Head Start

  • Author(s): Garces, Eliana
  • Thomas, Duncan
  • Currie, Janet
  • et al.

Little is known about the long-term effects of participation in Head Start. This paper draws on unique non-experimental data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to provide new evidence on the effects of participation in Head Start on schooling attainment, earnings, and criminal behavior. Among whites, participation in Head Start is associated with a significantly increased probability of completing high school and attending college, and we find some evidence of elevated earnings in one’s early twenties. African Americans who participated in Head Start are significantly less likely to have been charged or convicted of a crime. The evidence also suggests that there are positive spillovers from older children who attended Head Start to their younger siblings.

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