Distributional effects of OPORTUNIDADES on early child development
AbstractAdequate health, nutrition, and education during childhood are essential for human development. Deficits in these realms undermine the capacity to acquire the necessary skills to perform in life. Social policies addressing the causes of disadvantages in child development take up an important place in the social agenda. The Mexican Oportunidades program is such a policy. Investments in children’s health, nutrition, and education by the program are expected to facilitate children’s development. Previous studies found little effect of Oportunidades on child’s cognition and positive effects on noncognitve development. However, the majority of these studies take the average outcome as the relevant indicator of the effect of the program which overlooks the effect on the “non-average” child. A methodology capable of unveiling effects along the outcome’s distribution is proposed here. Such methodology, originally proposed by Davidson and Duclos (2013), is based on tests of stochastic dominance and is suitable for observing effects beyond the mean. Four indicators of cognitive development and one of behavioral problems (noncognitve development) are analyzed in a sample of 2,595 children aged 2 to 6 years. The sample was collected in rural communities in Mexico in 2003 as part of the evaluation of the program. Oportunidades decreases behavioral problems experienced by children exposed to the program. The ranges where the effect is found cover a large part of the distribution of the outcomes and a large proportion of the children in the sample. In comparison to other studies, additional effects by gender and ethnicity are now found. Only one indicator of cognitive development (short-term memory) shows positive effects. Nevertheless, the results for this indicator show that children with lower values of cognitive development benefitted from the program while children with higher values did not. These heterogeneous effects highlight the importance of going beyond the average effect approach.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration in its series Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium with number 13/840.
Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: May 2013
Date of revision:
Child development; Oportunidades; Distributional effects; Mexico;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
- I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
- J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Richard Blundell & Mónica Costa Dias, 2008.
"Alternative Approaches to Evaluation in Empirical Microeconomics,"
CEF.UP Working Papers
0805, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
- Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2009. "Alternative Approaches to Evaluation in Empirical Microeconomics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
- Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2008. "Alternative approaches to evaluation in empirical microeconomics," CeMMAP working papers CWP26/08, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2002. "Alternative approaches to evaluation in empirical microeconomics," CeMMAP working papers CWP10/02, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- Blundell, Richard & Costa Dias, Monica, 2008. "Alternative Approaches to Evaluation in Empirical Microeconomics," IZA Discussion Papers 3800, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Heckman, James J. & Kautz, Tim, 2012.
"Hard Evidence on Soft Skills,"
IZA Discussion Papers
6580, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Andreas Schick & Richard H. Steckel, 2010. "Height as a Proxy for Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Ability," NBER Working Papers 16570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Macours, Karen & Schady, Norbert & Vakis, Renos, 2008.
"Cash transfers, behavioral changes, and cognitive development in early childhood : evidence from a randomized experiment,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
4759, The World Bank.
- Karen Macours & Norbert Schady & Renos Vakis, 2012. "Cash Transfers, Behavioral Changes, and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 247-73, April.
- Karen Macours & Norbert Schady & Renos Vakis, 2012. "Cash Transfers, Behavioral Changes, and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," IDB Publications 62638, Inter-American Development Bank.
- Karen Macours & Norbert Schady & Renos Vakis, 2011. "Cash Transfers, Behavioral Changes, and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," Working Papers 2011-007, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
- Djebbari, Habiba & Smith, Jeffrey A., 2008.
"Heterogeneous Impacts in PROGRESA,"
IZA Discussion Papers
3362, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Christina Paxson & Norbert Schady, 2005.
"Cognitive Development Among Young Children in Ecuador: The Roles of Wealth, Health and Parenting,"
239, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
- 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).
- Paxson, Christina & Schady, Norbert, 2005. "Cognitive development among young children in Ecuador : the roles of wealth, health and parenting," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3605, The World Bank.
- repec:idb:brikps:publication-detail,7101.html?id=32886 is not listed on IDEAS
- Heckman, James J & Smith, Jeffrey, 1997. "Making the Most Out of Programme Evaluations and Social Experiments: Accounting for Heterogeneity in Programme Impacts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 487-535, October.
- Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
- Paolo Verme, 2010. "Stochastic Dominance, Poverty and the Treatment Effect Curve," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 30(1), pages 365-373.
- Duc, Le Thuc, 2011. "Height and Cognitive Achievement of Vietnamese Children," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(12), pages 2211-2220.
- Robert S. Kahn & Dominique Brandt & Robert C. Whitaker, 2004. "Combined Effect of Mothers' and Fathers' Mental Health Symptoms on Children's Behavioral and Emotional Well-Being," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 4134, Mathematica Policy Research.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Nathalie Verhaeghe).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.