Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Millea, Meghan J.

Committee Member

Blair, Benjamin F.

Committee Member

Campbell, Randall C.

Committee Member

Campbell, Charles A.

Committee Member

Hare, Dwight R.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Applied Economics

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Business and Industry


Department of Finance and Economics


Cross-sectional and geographical data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics were combined with school-district level data from the Census Bureau’s F-33 Survey of Local Government. Use of this unique dataset, allows for the examination of the longterm effects of preschool participation while controlling for the quality of schooling encountered post-program. Former Head Start participants report better health status than individuals with no preschool experience or experience in preschools other than Head Start. Individuals who attended these other preschools outperformed the Head Start group when it came to high school graduation and overall educational attainment. No differences were detected in regard to the groups’ employment status and income. School quality did not appear to be a strong determinant of future success. Neither did it appear to explain the fadeout effect found in many other studies. Long-term effects did not vary much by Head Start region indicating that program quality is of similar quality across the nation. Some differences in benefits were found between rural and urban programs. Respondents who attended Head Start in urban and suburban areas report better health status than their rural peers. Individuals from rural areas were more likely to graduate from high school and have higher incomes than people from urban areas. Intergenerational benefits were also examined. Children whose mothers attended Head Start as a child are more likely to be eligible for the program than children whose mothers had no preschool experience. Among the eligible population, children of Head Start mothers are statistically more likely to actually attend the program than children whose mother did not attend Head Start.



Head Start||early childhood education||early intervention||preschool