|RELATED TOPICS:||Poverty Reduction and Labor|
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A growing body of research argues that early adverse experiences have lasting effects not only on later health outcomes, but also on human capital accumulation. This paper investigates the persistent effect of negative shocks early in life on children’s health and cognitive outcomes, and explores whether shocks at certain periods matter more than others. The paper exploits the geographic intensity of extreme floods during the 1997-1998 El Niño phenomenon in Ecuador as a source of exogenous variation in children’s exposure to a negative shock at different periods early in life. It is shown that children exposed to severe floods in utero, especially during the third trimester, are shorter in stature five and seven years later. Also, children affected by the floods in the first trimester of pregnancy score lower on cognitive tests. Potential mechanisms are explored by studying how exposure to the El Niño shock affected key inputs to the production of children’s human capital: birth weight and family inputs (income, consumption, and breastfeeding). Children exposed to El Niño floods, especially during the third trimester in utero, were more likely to be born with low birth weight. Furthermore, households affected by El Niño 1997-98 suffered a decline in income, total consumption, and food consumption in the aftermath of the shock. Moreover, exposure to El Niño floods decreased the duration of exclusive breastfeeding and increased the duration of non-exclusive breastfeeding. Falsification exercises suggest that selection concerns such as selective fertility, mobility, and infant mortality do not drive these results.
This issue of IDEA covers some of the IDB’s recent research on climate change, including efforts on both the mitigation and adaptation fronts. That research includes both surprising findings and an underlying understanding that the region’s development must take into account -and will in many ways be shaped by- how it deals with this unique and inescapable issue. (View publication)
This paper examines the causal link between early childhood nutrition and cognition, applying instrumental variables to sibling-differences for a sample of pre-school aged Peruvian children. Child-specific shocks in the form of food price changes and household shocks during a child’s critical developmental period are used as instruments. The analysis shows significant, positive returns to early ch ... (View publication)
This paper studies a model where student effort and talent interact with parental and teachers’ investments, as well as with school system resources. The model is rich, yet sufficiently stylized to provide novel implications. It can show, for example, that an improvement in parental outside options will reduce parental and school effort, which are partially compensated through school resources ... (View publication)
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