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

Author

Listed:
  • Outes, Ingo

    (Oxford University)

  • Porter, Catherine

    (Oxford University)

  • Sanchez, Alan

    (Central Bank of Peru
    Oxford University)

  • Escobal, Javier

    (Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Outes, Ingo & Porter, Catherine & Sanchez, Alan & Escobal, Javier, 2011. "Early Nutrition and Cognition in Peru: A Within-Sibling Investigation," Working Papers 2011-017, Banco Central de Reserva del Perú.
  • Handle: RePEc:rbp:wpaper:2011-017
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Berhane, Guush & Abay, Mehari & Woldehanna, Tassew, 2015. "Childhood Shocks, Safety nets and Cognitive Skills: Panel Data Evidence from Rural Ethiopia," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 210868, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. repec:eee:socmed:v:193:y:2017:i:c:p:101-109 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:64:y:2018:i:c:p:144-164 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:pal:eurjdr:v:29:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1057_ejdr.2016.7 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Lopez Boo, Florencia & Canon, Maria Eugenia, 2014. "Reversal of gender gaps in child development: Evidence from young children in India," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 124(1), pages 55-59.
    6. Perkins, Jessica M. & Kim, Rockli & Krishna, Aditi & McGovern, Mark & Aguayo, Victor M. & Subramanian, S.V., 2017. "Understanding the association between stunting and child development in low- and middle-income countries: Next steps for research and intervention," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 193(C), pages 101-109.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health; Nutrition; Cognitive Development; Children; Peru;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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