Stein, Aryeh D.

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Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
  • Publication
    What Determines Adult Cognitive Skills? Impacts of Pre-Schooling, Schooling and Post-Schooling Experiences in Guatemala
    (2006-10-27) Behrman, Jere R; Hoddinott, John F; Maluccio, John A; Soler-Hampejsek, Erica; Behrman, Emily L.; Martorell, Reynaldo; Ramirez-Zea, Manuel; Stein, Aryeh D.
    Most investigations of the importance of and the determinants of adult cognitive skills assume that (a) they are produced primarily by schooling and (b) schooling is statistically predetermined. But these assumptions may lead to misleading inferences about impacts of schooling and of pre-schooling and post-schooling experiences on adult cognitive skills. This study uses an unusually rich longitudinal data set collected over 35 years in Guatemala to investigate production functions for adult (i) reading-comprehension and (ii) nonverbal cognitive skills as dependent on behaviorally-determined pre-schooling, schooling and post-schooling experiences. Major results are: (1) Schooling has significant and substantial impact on adult reading comprehension (but not on adult nonverbal cognitive skills)—but estimates of this impact are biased upwards substantially if there are no controls for behavioral determinants of schooling in the presence of persistent unobserved factors such as genetic endowments and/or if family background factors that appear to be correlated with genetic endowments are included among the first-stage instruments. (2) Both pre-schooling and post-schooling experiences have substantial significant impacts on one or both of the adult cognitive skill measures that tend to be underestimated if these pre- and post-schooling experiences are treated as statistically predetermined—in contrast to the upward bias for schooling, which suggests that the underlying physical and job-related components of genetic endowments are negatively correlated with those for cognitive skills. (3) The failure in most studies to incorporate pre- and post-schooling experiences in the analysis of adult cognitive skills or outcomes affected by adult cognitive skills is likely to lead to misleading over-emphasis on schooling relative to these pre-and post-schooling experiences. (4) Gender differences in the coefficients of the adult cognitive skills production functions are not significant, suggesting that most of the fairly substantial differences in adult cognitive skills favoring males on average originate from gender differences in schooling attainment and in experience in skilled jobs favoring males. These four sets of findings are of substantial interest in themselves. But they also have important implications for broader literatures, reinforcing the importance of early life investments in disadvantaged children in determining adult skills and options, pointing to limitations in the cross-country growth literature of using schooling of adults to represent human capital, supporting hypotheses about the importance of childhood nutrition and work complexity in explaining the “Flynn effect” of substantial increases in measured cognitive skills over time, and questioning the interpretation of studies that report productivity impacts of cognitive skills without controlling for the endogeneity of such skills.
  • Publication
    The Impact of Nutrition during Early Childhood on Education among Guatemalan Adults
    (2006-08-15) Maluccio, John A; Hoddinott, John F; Behrman, Jere R; Martorell, Reynaldo; Quisumbing, Agnes R; Stein, Aryeh D.
    Early childhood nutrition is thought to have important effects on education, broadly defined to include various forms of learning. We advance beyond previous literature on the effect of early childhood nutrition on education in developing countries by using unique longitudinal data begun during a nutritional experiment during early childhood with educational outcomes measured in adulthood. Estimating an intent-to-treat model capturing the effect of exposure to the intervention from birth to 36 months, our results indicate significantly positive, and fairly substantial, effects of the randomized nutrition intervention a quarter century after it ended: increased grade attainment by women (1.2 grades) via increased likelihood of completing primary school and some secondary school; speedier grade progression by women; a one-quarter SD increase in a test of reading comprehension with positive effects found for both women and men; and a one-quarter SD increase on nonverbal cognitive tests scores. There is little evidence of heterogeneous impacts with the exception being that exposure to the intervention had a larger effect on grade attainment and reading comprehension scores for females in wealthier households. The findings are robust to an array of alternative estimators of the standard errors and controls for sample attrition.
  • Publication
    What Determines Adult Cognitive Skills? Influences of Pre-Schooling, Schooling, and Post-Schooling Experiences in Guatemala
    (2013-06-19) Behrman, Jere R.; Hoddinott, John F.; Maluccio, John A.; Soler-Hampejsek, Erica; Behrman, Emily L.; Martorell, Reynaldo; Ramirez-Zea, Manuel; Stein, Aryeh D.
    Most empirical investigations of the effects of cognitive skills assume that they are produced by schooling, and that schooling is exogenous. Drawing on a rich longitudinal data set to estimate production functions for adult reading-comprehension cognitive skills and adult nonverbal cognitive skills, we find that (1) Schooling attainment has a significant and substantial effect on adult reading-comprehension cognitive skills but not on adult nonverbal cognitive skills; and (2) Pre-schooling and post-schooling experiences have substantial positive significant effects on adult cognitive skills. Pre-schooling experiences that increase height for age at age six years substantially and significantly increase adult reading-comprehension and nonverbal cognitive skills, even after controlling for schooling attainment and post-school skilled job tenure. Post-schooling tenure in skilled jobs also has a significant positive effect on adult reading-comprehension and nonverbal cognitive skills, although the latter estimate is sensitive to how we treat gender. Age also has significant positive effect but with diminishing returns on adult reading-comprehension cognitive skills. The findings (1) reinforce the importance of early life investments; (2) support the importance of childhood nutrition (“Flynn effect”) and work complexity in explaining increases in cognitive skills; (3) question interpretations of studies reporting productivity impacts of cognitive skills without controlling for endogeneity; and (4) point to limitations in using adult schooling alone to represent human capital.
  • Publication
    Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty and Inequality: Young Lives
    (2013-06-30) Behrman, Jere R.; Crookston, Benjamin T.; Dearden, Kirk; Duc, Le Thuc; Fernald, Lia C. H.; Mani, Subha; Stein, Aryeh D.; Schott, Whitney
    Parents play major roles in determining the human capital of children, and thus the income of children when they become adults. Models of investments in children’s human capital posit that these investments are determined by parental resources (financial and human capital) and child endowments within particular market and policy environments. Many empirical studies are consistent with significant associations between parental resources and investments in their children. And there is considerable emphasis in the scholarly and the policy literatures on the degree of intergenerational mobility and the intergenerational transmission of economic opportunities, and therefore the intergenerational transmission of poverty – or of affluence. Therefore policies or other developments that affect the extent of poverty and/or inequality in the parents’ generation are likely to have impacts on the extent of poverty and/or inequality in the children’s generation. However the extent of these intergenerational effects is an empirical question that this paper explores using the Young Lives data to estimate intergenerational associations between parental resources and investments in human capital of children and then, under the assumption that these associations reflect causal effects, to simulate what impacts changes in poverty and inequality in the parents’ generation have on poverty and inequality in the children’s generation. The results suggest that reductions in poverty and in inequality in the parents’ generation reduce poverty and inequality in the children’s generation some, but not much.