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Early Nutrition and Cognition in Peru: A Within-Sibling Investigation

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  • Outes, Ingo

    (Oxford University)

  • Porter, Catherine

    (Oxford University)

  • Sanchez, Alan

    (Central Bank of Peru
    Oxford University)

  • Escobal, Javier

    (Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo)

Abstract

An extensive literature documents linkages between early nutritional deficiencies and reduced cognitive ability, educational attainment and, ultimately, lower labor market performance. Few of these studies, however, have shown these correlations to be genuinely causal. We reexamine the nutrition and cognition link, applying instrumental variable methods to a sibling-difference specification for a sample of Peruvian pre-school children. We use household shocks and food price changes as instruments. As such our analysis also quantifies the nutritional and cognitive costs of the 2006-08 global food price crisis. We find that there are significant and negative cognitive effects of early childhood nutritional disinvestments: a decrease in Height-for-Age z-score leads to a reduction in the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test score of 17-21 percent. The accumulated deficits are sizeable considering that these children are only 3-6 years old and are yet to enroll in formal schooling, with deficits likely to widen in later years.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Banco Central de Reserva del Perú in its series Working Papers with number 2011-017.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Handle: RePEc:rbp:wpaper:2011-017

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Keywords: Health; Nutrition; Cognitive Development; Children; Peru;

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  1. Schady, Norbert, 2006. "Early childhood development in Latin America and the Caribbean," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3869, The World Bank.
  2. Harold Alderman & John Hoddinott & Bill Kinsey, 2004. "Long Term Consequences Of Early Childhood Malnutrition," HiCN Working Papers 09, Households in Conflict Network.
  3. Horton, Susan, 1988. "Birth Order and Child Nutritional Status: Evidence from the Philippines," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 341-54, January.
  4. Samuel Berlinski & Sebastian Galiani, 2004. "The effect of a large expansion of pre-primary school facilities on preschool attendance and maternal employment," IFS Working Papers W04/30, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Joachim von Braun, 2008. "Rising Food Prices: What Should Be Done?," EuroChoices, The Agricultural Economics Society, vol. 7(SpecialIs), pages 30-35, 08.
  6. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2002. "Instrumental variables and GMM: Estimation and testing," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 545, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 14 Feb 2003.
  7. Behrman, Jere R., 1988. "Nutrition, health, birth order and seasonality : Intrahousehold allocation among children in rural India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 43-62, February.
  8. Jose Cuesta & Fidel Jaramillo, 2009. "Taxonomy of Causes, Impacts and Policy Responses to the Food Price Crisis in the Andean Region," Research Department Publications 4623, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  9. Sharon Maccini & Dean Yang, 2009. "Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Economic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 1006-26, June.
  10. John Maluccio & John Hoddinott & Jere R. Behrman & Reynaldo Martorell & Agnes R. Quisumbing & Aryeh D. Stein, 2006. "The Impact of Nutrition during Early Childhood on Education among Guatemalan Adults," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0614, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  11. Glewwe, Paul & Jacoby, Hanan G. & King, Elizabeth M., 2001. "Early childhood nutrition and academic achievement: a longitudinal analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 345-368, September.
  12. Escobal, Javier & Flores, Eva, 2008. "An Assessment of the Young Lives Sampling Approach in Peru," MPRA Paper 56483, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Florencia Lopez Boo & Maria E. Canon, 2012. "Richer but more unequal? nutrition and caste gaps," Working Papers 2012-051, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

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