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

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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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19185.

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Date of creation: Jun 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19185

Note: CH DEV ED LS
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  1. James J. Heckman & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter A. Savelyev, 2012. "Understanding the Mechanisms through Which an Influential Early Childhood Program Boosted Adult Outcomes," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 12-00011, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
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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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