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Working Paper Series

School Quality and the Long-run Effects of Head Start


  • Rucker Johnson, Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley


  • Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (March 2012)


This paper contributes to the Head Start literature by providing a unified evaluation of long-run impacts on adult outcomes across several domains. In addition to the extensive literature on the impacts of Head Start on test scores, the present study builds on and contributes to a burgeoning literature investigating long-term impacts of early life interventions (childhood programs in the first decade of life). The paper’s results complement the findings of studies on the long-term impacts of other early childhood interventions, such as the Perry and Abecederian preschool demonstrations, Nurse-Family Partnership, and kindergarten class size in the Tennessee STAR experiment (Chetty et al., 2010), which also find lasting impacts on adult outcomes despite fade-out on test scores.

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