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Early Nutrition and Cognition in Peru

  • Ingo Outes-Leon
  • Catherine Porter
  • Alan Sanchez

This paper examines the causal link between early childhood nutrition and cognition, applying instrumental variables to sibling-differences for a sample of pre-school aged Peruvian children. Child-specific shocks in the form of food price changes and household shocks during the critical developmental period of a child are used as instruments. The analysis shows significant and positive returns to early childhood nutritional investments. An increase in the Height-for-Age z-score of one standard deviation—keeping other factors constant—translates into increases in the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) score of 17-21 percent of a standard deviation. The period of analysis includes the recent global food price crisis that also affected Peru between 2006 and 2008. This therefore is also a quantification of the nutritional and subsequent cognitive costs of food prices on the sample, which could be magnified in later years.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4743.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4743
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  16. Samuel Berlinski & Sebastian Galiani, 2004. "The effect of a large expansion of pre-primary school facilities on preschool attendance and maternal employment," IFS Working Papers W04/30, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  17. Jere R. Behrman & Yingmei Cheng & Petra E. Todd, 2004. "Evaluating Preschool Programs When Length of Exposure to the Program Varies: A Nonparametric Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 108-132, February.
  18. John A. Maluccio & John Hoddinott & Jere R. Behrman & Reynaldo Martorell & Agnes R. Quisumbing & Aryeh D. Stein, 2009. "The Impact of Improving Nutrition During Early Childhood on Education among Guatemalan Adults," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 734-763, 04.
  19. Joachim von Braun, 2008. "Rising Food Prices: What Should Be Done?," EuroChoices, The Agricultural Economics Society, vol. 7(SpecialIs), pages 30-35, 08.
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