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Wealth Gradients in Early Childhood Cognitive Development in Five Latin American Countries

Author

Listed:
  • Renos Vakis
  • Christina Paxson
  • Daniela Marshall
  • Karen Macours
  • Florencia López Bóo
  • David Bravo
  • Raquel Bernal
  • Rodrigo Azuero
  • María Caridad Araujo
  • Jere R. Behrman
  • Norbert Schady

Abstract

Research from the United States shows that gaps in early cognitive and non-cognitive ability appear early in the life cycle. Little is known about this important question for developing countries. This paper provides new evidence of sharp differences in cognitive development by socioeconomic status in early childhood for five Latin American countries. To help with comparability, we use the same measure of receptive language ability for all five countries. We find important differences in development in early childhood across countries, and steep socioeconomic gradients within every country. For the three countries where we can follow children over time, there are few substantive changes in scores once children enter school. Our results are robust to different ways of defining socioeconomic status, to different ways of standardizing outcomes, and to selective non-response on our measure of cognitive development.

Suggested Citation

  • Renos Vakis & Christina Paxson & Daniela Marshall & Karen Macours & Florencia López Bóo & David Bravo & Raquel Bernal & Rodrigo Azuero & María Caridad Araujo & Jere R. Behrman & Norbert Schady, 2014. "Wealth Gradients in Early Childhood Cognitive Development in Five Latin American Countries," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4774, Inter-American Development Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:brikps:4774
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Manski, Charles F, 1990. "Nonparametric Bounds on Treatment Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 319-323, May.
    2. 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 247-273, April.
    3. Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet, 2011. "Human Capital Development before Age Five," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    4. James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 31-47, May.
    5. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Human Capital Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 821, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. 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.
    7. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
    8. Orazio P. Attanasio & Camila Fernández & Emla O. A. Fitzsimons & Sally M. Grantham-McGregor & Costas Meghir & Marta Rubio-Codina, 2014. "Using the Infrastructure of a Conditional Cash Transfer Program to Deliver a Scalable Integrated Early Child Development Program in Colombia: Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 62cf429ea5b74678a945aa87b, Mathematica Policy Research.
    9. 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).
    10. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance, 2006. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    11. repec:idb:brikps:publication-detail,7101.html?id=32886 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. 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 247-273, April.
    13. Christina Paxson & Norbert Schady, 2010. "Does Money Matter? The Effects of Cash Transfers on Child Development in Rural Ecuador," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(1), pages 187-229, October.
    14. Greg J. Duncan & Katherine Magnuson, 2013. "Investing in Preschool Programs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 109-132, Spring.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Poverty; Child development; Desarrollo cognitivo; Estatus socioeconómico; Primera infancia; Lenguaje receptivo;

    JEL classification:

    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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