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The impact of participation in Head Start is investigated using a national sample of children. Comparisons are drawn between siblings to control for selection. Head Start is associated with large and significant gains in test scores among both whites and African-Americans. However, among African-Americans, these gains are quickly lost. Head Start significantly reduces the probability that a white child will repeat a grade, but it has no effect on grade repetition among African-American children. Both whites and African-Americans who attend Head Start, or other preschools, gain greater access to preventive health services.

Originally published in: The American Economic Review, v. 85, no. 3, 1995, pp. 341-364.

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