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Effects of Early Childhood Intervention on Child Development and Early Skill Formation. Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial


  • Sandner, Malte


This paper presents results from a randomized evaluation of a home visiting program for disadvantaged first-time mothers and their families implemented in Germany. 12 months after birth, the intervention increases infants' cognitive development by 0.18 SD. However, the effect fades out after 24 months. Gender analyses reveal that the intervention was more beneficial for girls. Furthermore, sensitivity analyses show that the estimated effects seem downward biased by additional treatment for the control families. Analyzing the infant skill formation process reveals self-productivity of skills but in different magnitude for boys and girls.

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  • Sandner, Malte, 2013. "Effects of Early Childhood Intervention on Child Development and Early Skill Formation. Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-518, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  • Handle: RePEc:han:dpaper:dp-518

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Deming, 2009. "Early Childhood Intervention and Life-Cycle Skill Development: Evidence from Head Start," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 111-134, July.
    2. James J. Heckman, 2011. "The American Family in Black and White: A Post-Racial Strategy for Improving Skills to Promote Equality," NBER Working Papers 16841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 31-47, May.
    4. Coneus, Katja & Laucht, Manfred & Reuß, Karsten, 2012. "The role of parental investments for cognitive and noncognitive skill formation—Evidence for the first 11 years of life," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 189-209.
    5. Doyle, Orla & Harmon, Colm P. & Heckman, James J. & Tremblay, Richard E., 2009. "Investing in early human development: Timing and economic efficiency," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-6, March.
    6. Orla Doyle & Colm Harmon & James J. Heckman & Caitriona Logue & Seong Moon, 2013. "Measuring Investment in Human Capital Formation: An Experimental Analysis of Early Life Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 19316, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Patrick Royston, 2004. "Multiple imputation of missing values," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(3), pages 227-241, September.
    8. Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2016. "Boy-Girl Differences in Parental Time Investments: Evidence from Three Countries," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(4), pages 399-441.
    9. 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).
    10. Dorothea Blomeyer & Katja Coneus & Manfred Laucht & Friedhelm Pfeiffer, 2009. "Initial Risk Matrix, Home Resources, Ability Development, and Children's Achievement," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 638-648, 04-05.
    11. Anderson, Michael L., 2008. "Multiple Inference and Gender Differences in the Effects of Early Intervention: A Reevaluation of the Abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training Projects," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103(484), pages 1481-1495.
    12. Jens Ludwig & Deborah A. Phillips, 2007. "The Benefits and Costs of Head Start," NBER Working Papers 12973, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Arnaud Chevalier & Olivier Marie, 2017. "Economic Uncertainty, Parental Selection, and Children’s Educational Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(2), pages 393-430.
    2. Arnaud Chevalier & Olivier Marie, 2013. "Economic Uncertainty, Parental Selection, and the Criminal Activity of the "Children of the Wall"," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 605, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    3. Sandner, Malte & Jungmann, Tanja, 2016. "How much can we trust maternal ratings of early child development in disadvantaged samples?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 73-76.
    4. Chevalier A. & Marie O. & Marie O., 2013. "Economic uncertainty, parental selection, and the criminal activity of the ‘children of the wall’," Research Memorandum 066, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).

    More about this item


    Early Childhood Intervention; Randomized Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education

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