Short and medium run impacts of preschool education: Evidence from state pre-k programs

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Mariana Zerpa, University of Leuven


I study the effects of state preschool programs on child development, health, and academic progress from ages 5 to 12. I leverage variation in the timing of implementation of pre-K programs across states to look at the effects of a large and representative group of programs, using data from state legislatures and two national household surveys. I find that availability of pre-K programs improves developmental outcomes and causes persistent reductions in grade repetition. My results also suggest increased health problems only in the short run. I provide bounds for policy-relevant local average treatment effects that imply large effects.


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