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Long-Term Impacts of Compensatory Preschool on Health and Behavior: Evidence from Head Start

Authors: Pedro Carneiro and Rita Ginja
Date: 24 November 2014
Type: Journal article, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, Vol. 6, No. 4, pp. 135-173
DOI: 10.1257/pol.6.4.135


This paper provides new estimates of the medium- and long-term impacts of Head Start on health and behavioral problems. 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 individuals in the neighborhoods of multiple discontinuities. Participation in the program reduces the incidence of behavioral problems, health problems, and obesity of male children at ages 12 and 13. It lowers depression and obesity among adolescents, and it reduces engagement in criminal activities and idleness for young adults.

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Previous version:
Pedro Carneiro and Rita Ginja January 2012, Long term impacts of compensatory preschool on health and behavior: evidence from Head Start, cemmap Working Paper, CWP01/12

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