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The Inter-Generational Transmission of Cognitive Abilities in Guatemala


  • Ma. Cecilia Calderón
  • John Hoddinott


This paper examines early childhood development (ECD) outcomes and their association with family characteristics, investments, and environmental factors, with particular emphasis on the inter-generational transmission of cognitive abilities. The paper examines the causal relationship between parental cognitive abilities and ECD outcomes of their offspring using a rich data set from rural Guatemala that can account for such unobservable factors. A 10 percent increase in maternal Raven’s scores increase children’s Raven’s scores by 7. 8 percent. A 10 percent increase in maternal reading and vocabulary skills increases children’s score on a standard vocabulary test by 5 percent. Effects are larger for older children, and the impact of maternal cognitive skills is larger than for paternal skills.

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  • Ma. Cecilia Calderón & John Hoddinott, 2011. "The Inter-Generational Transmission of Cognitive Abilities in Guatemala," Research Department Publications 4722, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4722

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Harold Alderman & John Hoddinott & Bill Kinsey, 2006. "Long term consequences of early childhood malnutrition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(3), pages 450-474, July.
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    6. James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 31-47, May.
    7. Jere R. Behrman & John Hoddinott & John A. Maluccio & Reynaldo Martorell, 2009. "Brains versus Brawn: Labor Market Returns to Intellectual and Health Human Capital in a Poor Developing Country," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0907, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
    8. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2007. "The Production of Cognitive Achievement in Children: Home, School, and Racial Test Score Gaps," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 91-136.
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    13. Anger, Silke & Heineck, Guido, 2010. "Cognitive Abilities and Earnings – First Evidence for Germany," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 699-702.
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    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • N36 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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