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Labor Market Returns to Early Childhood Stimulation: A 20-year Followup to an Experimental Intervention in Jamaica

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  • Gertler, Paul
  • Heckman, James
  • Pinto, Rodrigo
  • Zanolini, Arianna
  • Vermeerch, Christel
  • Walker, Susan
  • Chang, Susan M.
  • Grantham-McGregor, Sally

Abstract

We find large effects on the earnings of participants from a randomized intervention that gave psychosocial stimulation to stunted Jamaican toddlers living in poverty. The intervention consisted of one-hour weekly visits from community Jamaican health workers over a 2-year period that taught parenting skills and encouraged mothers to interact and play with their children in ways that would develop their children's cognitive and personality skills. We re-interviewed the study participants 20 years after the intervention. Stimulation increased the average earnings of participants by 42 percent. Treatment group earnings caught up to the earnings of a matched non-stunted comparison group. These findings show that psychosocial stimulation early in childhood in disadvantaged settings can have substantial effects on labor market outcomes and reduce later life inequality.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley in its series Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series with number qt8sz5p9vd.

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Date of creation: 31 Mar 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:indrel:qt8sz5p9vd

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Related research

Keywords: Social and Behavioral Sciences; Early Childhood Development; Stunting; Randomized Trial;

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References

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  1. Heckman, James J. & Pinto, Rodrigo & Savelyev, Peter, 2012. "Understanding the Mechanisms Through Which an Influential Early Childhood Program Boosted Adult Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 7040, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Sharon L. Maccini & Dean Yang, 2008. "Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Economic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall," NBER Working Papers 14031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Susanne Schennach & James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," 2007 Meeting Papers 973, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Joseph P. Romano & Michael Wolf, 2003. "Stepwise Multiple Testing as Formalized Data Snooping," Working Papers 17, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  5. Heckman, James J. & Moon, Seong Hyeok & Pinto, Rodrigo & Savelyev, Peter A. & Yavitz, Adam, 2010. "The rate of return to the HighScope Perry Preschool Program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 114-128, February.
  6. Heckman, James J. & Kautz, Tim, 2012. "Hard Evidence on Soft Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 6580, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. James J. Heckman, 1999. "Policies to Foster Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 7288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Christina Paxson & Norbert Schady, 2007. "Cognitive Development among Young Children in Ecuador: The Roles of Wealth, Health, and Parenting," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(1).
  9. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro, 2003. "Human Capital Policy," NBER Working Papers 9495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Mathilde Almlund & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Tim D. Kautz, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," NBER Working Papers 16822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Eliana Garces & Duncan Thomas & Janet Currie, 2000. "Longer Term Effects of Head Start," NBER Working Papers 8054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. James J. Heckman & Seong Hyeok Moon & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter A. Savelyev & Adam Yavitz, 2010. "Analyzing Social Experiments as Implemented: A Reexamination of the Evidence From the HighScope Perry Preschool Program," NBER Working Papers 16238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," NBER Working Papers 12006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Heckman, James J., 2008. "Schools, Skills, and Synapses," IZA Discussion Papers 3515, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie, 2010. "Human Capital Development Before Age Five," NBER Working Papers 15827, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Hoyt Bleakley, 2007. "Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 73-117, 02.
  18. John A. Maluccio & John Hoddinott & Jere R. Behrman & Reynaldo Martorell & Agnes R. Quisumbing & Aryeh D. Stein, 2009. "The Impact of Improving Nutrition During Early Childhood on Education among Guatemalan Adults," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 734-763, 04.
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Cited by:
  1. Janssens, Wendy & Rosemberg, Cristina, 2014. "The impact of a Caribbean home-visiting child development program on cognitive skills," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 22-37.

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