School Quality and the Longer-Term Effects of Head Start

Janet Currie, Duncan Thomas

NBER Working Paper No. 6362
Issued in January 1998
NBER Program(s):Children

Recent research on Head Start, an enriched preschool program for poor children that effects on test scores fade out' more quickly for black children than for white children. This" paper uses data from the 1988 wave of the National Educational Longitudinal Survey to show that" black children who attended Head Start go on to attend schools of worse quality' than other black" children, in the sense that they attend schools in which most children have worse test scores. We" do not see any similar pattern among white children, indicating that on average children attend schools similar to those attended by other white children. Moreover stratify by school type, we find that gaps in test scores between Head Start and other children are" very similar for blacks and whites. These patterns suggest that the effects of Head Start may fade" out more rapidly among black students than among whites, at least in part because black Head Start" children are more likely to subsequently attend bad schools.

download in pdf format
   (1195 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w6362

Published: Currie, Janet and Duncan Thomas. "School Quality And The Longer-Term Effects Of Head Start," Journal of Human Resources, 2000, v35(4,Fall), 755-774. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Card and Krueger w3358 Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States
Ludwig and Phillips w12973 The Benefits and Costs of Head Start
Currie and Thomas w4406 Does Head Start Make a Difference?
Garces, Thomas, and Currie w8054 Longer Term Effects of Head Start
Ludwig and Miller w11702 Does Head Start Improve Children's Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design
NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us