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Labor market returns to early childhood stimulation : a 20-year followup to an experimental intervention in Jamaica

Author

Listed:
  • Chang-Lopez, Susan
  • Gertler,Paul J.
  • Grantham-Mcgregor,Sally
  • Heckman,James J.
  • Pinto,Rodrigo Ribeiro Antunes
  • Vermeersch,Christel M. J.
  • Walker, Susan
  • Zanolini, Arianna

Abstract

This paper finds large effects on the earnings of participants from a randomized intervention that gave psychosocial stimulation to stunted Jamaican toddlers living in poverty. The intervention consisted of one-hour weekly visits from community Jamaican health workers over a 2-year period that taught parenting skills and encouraged mothers to interact and play with their children in ways that would develop their children's cognitive and personality skills. The authors re-interviewed the study participants 20 years after the intervention. Stimulation increased the average earnings of participants by 42 percent. Treatment group earnings caught up to the earnings of a matched non-stunted comparison group. These findings show that psychosocial stimulation early in childhood in disadvantaged settings can have substantial effects on labor market outcomes and reduce later life inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Chang-Lopez, Susan & Gertler,Paul J. & Grantham-Mcgregor,Sally & Heckman,James J. & Pinto,Rodrigo Ribeiro Antunes & Vermeersch,Christel M. J. & Walker, Susan & Zanolini, Arianna, 2013. "Labor market returns to early childhood stimulation : a 20-year followup to an experimental intervention in Jamaica," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6529, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6529
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor Markets; Educational Sciences; Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Primary Education; Disease Control&Prevention;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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