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The contribution of early childhood and schools to cognitive gaps: New evidence from Peru

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  • Castro, Juan F.
  • Rolleston, Caine

Abstract

Cognitive gaps between children of different socioeconomic backgrounds are particularly significant in the developing world. We propose and use a new decomposition strategy to measure the contribution of early childhood and school influences to the cognitive gap between urban and rural eight-year-old children in Peru. This strategy accounts for the relation between family choices and skill inputs and is less prone to biases than those employed before. We find that school influences occurring between ages 6 and 8, account for a significant share of urban/rural cognitive gap (around 35%). The share attributable to early childhood influences is important but no larger than 50%. Because skill depreciates, only a fraction of the gap (70–80%) is carried forward to the next period. Therefore, inequalities in school environments are sustaining a cognitive gap that would otherwise be smaller and this explains why differences that emerge during early childhood can remain unchanged after children start school.

Suggested Citation

  • Castro, Juan F. & Rolleston, Caine, 2018. "The contribution of early childhood and schools to cognitive gaps: New evidence from Peru," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 144-164.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:64:y:2018:i:c:p:144-164
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2018.03.009
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    1. repec:ers:journl:v:xxi:y:2018:i:4:p:726-734 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:intell:v:73:y:2019:i:c:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Arlette Beltrán & Juan F. Castro, 2018. "Combating Child Chronic Malnutrition and Anemia in Peru: Simulations based on the Achievement of Sustainable Development Goals," Working Papers 132, Peruvian Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cognitive gap; Linear decomposition; Early childhood; School inputs;

    JEL classification:

    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • C18 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Methodolical Issues: General

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