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Early Nutrition and Cognition in Peru: A Within-Sibling Investigation

  • Outes, Ingo

    (Oxford University)

  • Porter, Catherine

    (Oxford University)

  • Sanchez, Alan

    (Central Bank of Peru
    Oxford University)

  • Escobal, Javier

    (Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo)

An extensive literature documents linkages between early nutritional deficiencies and reduced cognitive ability, educational attainment and, ultimately, lower labor market performance. Few of these studies, however, have shown these correlations to be genuinely causal. We reexamine the nutrition and cognition link, applying instrumental variable methods to a sibling-difference specification for a sample of Peruvian pre-school children. We use household shocks and food price changes as instruments. As such our analysis also quantifies the nutritional and cognitive costs of the 2006-08 global food price crisis. We find that there are significant and negative cognitive effects of early childhood nutritional disinvestments: a decrease in Height-for-Age z-score leads to a reduction in the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test score of 17-21 percent. The accumulated deficits are sizeable considering that these children are only 3-6 years old and are yet to enroll in formal schooling, with deficits likely to widen in later years.

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File URL: http://www.bcrp.gob.pe/docs/Publicaciones/Documentos-de-Trabajo/2011/Documento-de-Trabajo-17-2011.pdf
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Paper provided by Banco Central de Reserva del Perú in its series Working Papers with number 2011-017.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Handle: RePEc:rbp:wpaper:2011-017
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  1. Christina Paxson & Norbert Schady, 2005. "Cognitive Development Among Young Children in Ecuador: The Roles of Wealth, Health and Parenting," Working Papers 239, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  2. Berlinski, Samuel & Galiani, Sebastian, 2007. "The effect of a large expansion of pre-primary school facilities on preschool attendance and maternal employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 665-680, June.
  3. Norbert Schady, 2006. "Early Childhood Development in Latin America and the Caribbean," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  4. Alderman,Harold & Hoddinott, John & Kinsey, Bill, 2003. "Long-term consequences of early childhood malnutrition," FCND discussion papers 168, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  5. Behrman, Jere R., 1988. "Nutrition, health, birth order and seasonality : Intrahousehold allocation among children in rural India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 43-62, February.
  6. Horton, Susan, 1988. "Birth Order and Child Nutritional Status: Evidence from the Philippines," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 341-54, January.
  7. Escobal, Javier & Flores, Eva, 2008. "An Assessment of the Young Lives Sampling Approach in Peru," MPRA Paper 56483, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. von Braun, Joachim, 2008. "Rising food prices: What should be done?," Policy briefs 1, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  9. Sharon L. Maccini & Dean Yang, 2008. "Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Economic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall," NBER Working Papers 14031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jose Cuesta & Fidel Jaramillo, 2009. "Taxonomy of Causes, Impacts and Policy Responses to the Food Price Crisis in the Andean Region," Research Department Publications 4623, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  11. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2002. "Instrumental variables and GMM: Estimation and testing," United Kingdom Stata Users' Group Meetings 2003 02, Stata Users Group.
  12. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. John Maluccio & John Hoddinott & Jere R. Behrman & Reynaldo Martorell & Agnes R. Quisumbing & Aryeh D. Stein, 2006. "The Impact of Nutrition during Early Childhood on Education among Guatemalan Adults," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0614, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  14. Glewwe, Paul & Jacoby, Hanan G. & King, Elizabeth M., 2001. "Early childhood nutrition and academic achievement: a longitudinal analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 345-368, September.
  15. Fidel Jaramillo & José A. Cuesta, 2009. "Taxonomy of Causes, Impacts and Policy Responses to the Food Price Crisis in the Andean Region," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6764, Inter-American Development Bank.
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