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Child Development in the Early Years: Parental Investment and the Changing Dynamics of Different Dimensions

Author

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  • Orazio Attanasio
  • Raquel Bernal
  • Michele Giannola
  • Milagros Nores

Abstract

This paper uses the data on child development collected around the evaluation of a nursery program to estimate the details of the process of human development. We model development as made of three latent factors, reflecting health, cognitive and socio-emotional skills. We observe children from age 1 to age 7. We assume that, at each age, these factors interact among themselves and with a variety of other inputs to determine the level of development at following ages. Relative to other studies, the richness of the data we use allows us to: (i) let the dynamics be rich and flexible; (ii) let each factors play a role in the production of any other factor; (iii) estimate age-specific functional forms; (iv) treated parental investment as an endogenous input. We find that the dynamics of the process can be richer than usually assumed, which has important implications for the degree of persistence of different inputs in time. Persistence also changes with age. This has important implications for the targeting of investment and interventions, and the identification of windows of opportunities. The endogeneity of investment is also important.

Suggested Citation

  • Orazio Attanasio & Raquel Bernal & Michele Giannola & Milagros Nores, 2020. "Child Development in the Early Years: Parental Investment and the Changing Dynamics of Different Dimensions," NBER Working Papers 27812, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27812
    Note: CH DEV ED
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Orazio Attanasio & Sarah Cattan & Emla Fitzsimons & Costas Meghir & Marta Rubio-Codina, 2020. "Estimating the Production Function for Human Capital: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Colombia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 110(1), pages 48-85, January.
    2. Lia C. H. Fernald & Elizabeth Prado & Patricia Kariger & Abbie Raikes, 2017. "A Toolkit for Measuring Early Childhood Development in Low and Middle-Income Countries," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 29000.
    3. Heckman, James J. & Moon, Seong Hyeok & Pinto, Rodrigo & Savelyev, Peter A. & Yavitz, Adam, 2010. "The rate of return to the HighScope Perry Preschool Program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 114-128, February.
    4. 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.
    5. Nores, Milagros & Bernal, Raquel & Barnett, W. Steven, 2019. "Center-based care for infants and toddlers: The aeioTU randomized trial," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 30-43.
    6. Francesco Agostinelli & Matthew Wiswall, 2016. "Identification of Dynamic Latent Factor Models: The Implications of Re-Normalization in a Model of Child Development," NBER Working Papers 22441, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Francesco Agostinelli & Matthew Wiswall, 2016. "Estimating the Technology of Children's Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 22442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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