IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/rug/rugwps/13-840.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Distributional effects of OPORTUNIDADES on early child development

Author

Listed:
  • J. L. FIGUEROA

    ()

Abstract

Adequate health, nutrition, and education during childhood are essential for human development. Deficits in these realms undermine the capacity to acquire the necessary skills to perform in life. Social policies addressing the causes of disadvantages in child development take up an important place in the social agenda. The Mexican Oportunidades program is such a policy. Investments in children’s health, nutrition, and education by the program are expected to facilitate children’s development. Previous studies found little effect of Oportunidades on child’s cognition and positive effects on noncognitve development. However, the majority of these studies take the average outcome as the relevant indicator of the effect of the program which overlooks the effect on the “non-average” child. A methodology capable of unveiling effects along the outcome’s distribution is proposed here. Such methodology, originally proposed by Davidson and Duclos (2013), is based on tests of stochastic dominance and is suitable for observing effects beyond the mean. Four indicators of cognitive development and one of behavioral problems (noncognitve development) are analyzed in a sample of 2,595 children aged 2 to 6 years. The sample was collected in rural communities in Mexico in 2003 as part of the evaluation of the program. Oportunidades decreases behavioral problems experienced by children exposed to the program. The ranges where the effect is found cover a large part of the distribution of the outcomes and a large proportion of the children in the sample. In comparison to other studies, additional effects by gender and ethnicity are now found. Only one indicator of cognitive development (short-term memory) shows positive effects. Nevertheless, the results for this indicator show that children with lower values of cognitive development benefitted from the program while children with higher values did not. These heterogeneous effects highlight the importance of going beyond the average effect approach.

Suggested Citation

  • J. L. Figueroa, 2013. "Distributional effects of OPORTUNIDADES on early child development," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 13/840, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  • Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:13/840
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://wps-feb.ugent.be/Papers/wp_13_840.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Karen Macours & Norbert Schady & Renos Vakis, 2012. "Cash Transfers, Behavioral Changes, and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 247-273, April.
    2. repec:mpr:mprres:4134 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:idb:brikps:publication-detail,7101.html?id=32886 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:spr:portec:v:1:y:2002:i:2:d:10.1007_s10258-002-0010-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Karen Macours & Norbert Schady & Renos Vakis, 2012. "Cash Transfers, Behavioral Changes, and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 247-273, April.
    6. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2009. "Alternative Approaches to Evaluation in Empirical Microeconomics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
    7. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey Smith & Nancy Clements, 1997. "Making The Most Out Of Programme Evaluations and Social Experiments: Accounting For Heterogeneity in Programme Impacts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 487-535.
    8. Christina Paxson & Norbert Schady, 2007. "Cognitive Development among Young Children in Ecuador: The Roles of Wealth, Health, and Parenting," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(1).
    9. Heckman, James J. & Kautz, Tim, 2012. "Hard evidence on soft skills," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 451-464.
    10. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
    11. Andreas Schick & Richard H. Steckel, 2010. "Height as a Proxy for Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Ability," NBER Working Papers 16570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Djebbari, Habiba & Smith, Jeffrey, 2008. "Heterogeneous impacts in PROGRESA," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 145(1-2), pages 64-80, July.
    13. Paolo Verme, 2010. "Stochastic Dominance, Poverty and the Treatment Effect Curve," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 30(1), pages 365-373.
    14. Duc, Le Thuc, 2011. "Height and Cognitive Achievement of Vietnamese Children," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(12), pages 2211-2220.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Child development; Oportunidades; Distributional effects; Mexico;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:13/840. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Nathalie Verhaeghe). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/ferugbe.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.