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Human Capital Growth and Poverty: Evidence from Ethiopia and Peru


  • Orazio Attanasio

    (University College London)

  • Costas Meghir

    (Yale University)

  • Emily Nix

    (Yale University)

  • Francesca Salvati

    (University College London)


In this paper we use high quality data from two developing countries, Ethiopia and Peru, to estimate the production functions of human capital from age 1 to age 15. We characterize the nature of persistence and dynamic complementarities between two components of human capital: health and cognition. We also explore the implications of different functional form assumptions for the production functions. We find that more able and higher income parents invest more, particularly at younger ages when investments have the greatest impacts. These differences in investments by parental income lead to large gaps in inequality by age 8 that persist through age 15. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Orazio Attanasio & Costas Meghir & Emily Nix & Francesca Salvati, 2017. "Human Capital Growth and Poverty: Evidence from Ethiopia and Peru," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 25, pages 234-259, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:16-113
    DOI: 10.1016/

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Prashant Bharadwaj & Katrine Vellesen L?ken & Christopher Neilson, 2013. "Early Life Health Interventions and Academic Achievement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1862-1891, August.
    2. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, May.
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    7. Orazio Attanasio & Sarah Cattan & Emla Fitzsimons & Costas Meghir & Marta Rubio Codina, 2015. "Estimating the production function for human capital: results from a randomized controlled trial in Colombia," IFS Working Papers W15/06, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    8. Attanasio, Orazio & Cattan, Sarah & Fitzsimons, Emla & Meghir, Costas & Rubio-Codina, Marta, 2015. "Estimating the Production Function for Human Capital: Results from a Randomized Control Trial in Colombia," IZA Discussion Papers 8856, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Marta Rubio-Codina & Orazio Attanasio & Costas Meghir & Natalia Varela & Sally Grantham-McGregor, 2015. "The Socioeconomic Gradient of Child Development: Cross-Sectional Evidence from Children 6–42 Months in Bogota," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(2), pages 464-483.
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    Cited by:

    1. Orazio Attanasio & Costas Meghir & Emily Nix, 2015. "Human Capital Development and Parental Investment in India," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2026R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Jul 2017.

    More about this item


    Cognitive skills; Health; Dynamic factor analysis; Parental investments; Child development; Human capital;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development


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