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Boys' Cognitive Skill Formation and Physical Growth: Long-term Experimental Evidence on Critical Ages for Early Childhood Interventions

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Author Info

  • Tania Barham
  • Karen Macours
  • John A. Maluccio

Abstract

The effects of early life circumstances on cognitive skill formation are important for later human capital development, labor market outcomes and well-being. In this paper, we test the hypothesis that the first 1,000 days are the critical window for both cognitive skill formation and physical development by exploiting a randomized conditional cash transfer (CCT) program in Nicaragua. We find that boys exposed in utero and during the first 2 years of life, have better cognitive, but not physical, outcomes when they are 10 years old compared to those also exposed, but in their second year of life or later. These results confirm that interventions that improve nutrition and/or health during the first 1,000 days of life can have lasting positive impacts on cognitive development for children. The finding that the results differ for cognitive functioning and anthropometrics highlights the importance of explicitly considering cognitive tests, in addition to anthropometrics, when analyzing impacts on early childhood development.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank in its series IDB Publications with number 81559.

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Date of creation: Jun 2013
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Handle: RePEc:idb:brikps:81559

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Keywords: Early Childhood Education; Youth & Children; Nutrition;

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Cited by:
  1. Emla Fitzsimons & Marcos Vera-Hernández, 2014. "Food for Thought? Breastfeeding and Child Development," DoQSS Working Papers 14-04, Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London.
  2. Dora Costa, 2013. "Health and the Economy in the United States, from 1750 to the Present," NBER Working Papers 19685, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Hoyt Bleakley & Dora Costa & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2013. "Health, Education and Income in the United States, 1820-2000," NBER Working Papers 19162, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Emla Fitzsimons & Marcos Vera-Hernandez, 2013. "Food for Thought? Breastfeeding and Child Development," IFS Working Papers W13/31, Institute for Fiscal Studies.

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