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

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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. 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) treat parental investment as an endogenous input. We show that considering parental investment as endogenous affects the estimated level of its productivity. Furthermore, we find that the dynamics of the process can be richer than usually assumed, which determines the degree of persistence of different inputs in time. Persistence also changes with age. The way the productivity of different inputs and the persistence of the process change with age have important implications for the targeting of investment and interventions, and, therefore, the identification of windows of opportunities.

Suggested Citation

  • Orazio Attanasio & Raquel Bernal & Michele Giannola & Milagros Nores, 2021. "Child Development in the Early Years: Parental Investment and the Changing Dynamics of Different Domains," CSEF Working Papers 626, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:626
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    Keywords

    Child development; Human capital; Dynamic production function; Parental investment; Cognitive skills; Health; Socio-emotional skills; Development.;
    All these keywords.

    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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