Martha J. Bailey

Evaluating the long-term effects of four War on Poverty programs

Research Project Description

This project aims to provide new evidence on the lasting human capital and productivity effects of Head Start, Food Stamps, Community Health Centers, and family planning programs. Current evaluations of these programs focus almost exclusively on their short-term benefits and neglect their value as investments. Using newly available, large scale administrative data and rigorous evaluation methodology (regression discontinuity and event study), the proposed research will quantify the impact of exposure to these programs in childhood on the economic outcomes of these children as adults (ages 35 to 50). The resulting estimates will inform a more complete understanding of costs and benefits as well as the investment value of these programs. Philanthropy is key to jump starting the data cleaning and analyses and will help achieve the following outcomes: (1) creation of data processing infrastructure to enable researchers to conduct additional analyses of programs beyond the scope of this project, (2) production of four peer-reviewed papers with concrete evidence on the costs and long-run benefits of these programs, and (3) dissemination of study results to policy makers to maximize their policy impact.

Funding: Laura and John Arnold Foundation (Grant Agreement)

Funding Period: 7/14/2015 to 1/31/2019

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