Favara, Marta

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Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Publication
    Late-Childhood Foundational Cognitive Skills Predict Educational Outcomes Through Adolescence and Into Young Adulthood: Evidence from Ethiopia and Peru
    (2022-09-23) Lopez, Jennifer; Behrman, Jere R; Cueto, Santiago; Favara, Marta; Sánchez, Alan
    We estimate the associations between a set of foundational cognitive skills (inhibitory control, working memory, long-term memory, and implicit learning) measured at age 12 and educational outcomes measured at ages 15 and 19-20 in Ethiopia and Peru (the Young Lives study). The estimates adjust for a rich set of lagged controls and include measurements of children’s general abilities. For a subset of the outcomes, we exploit within-household variation. Working memory and long-term memory are consistently and positively associated with subsequent domain-specific cognitive achievement tests in both countries, university enrolment in Peru (working memory) and lower secondary-school completion in Ethiopia (long-term memory). Inhibitory control predicts subsequent math-test scores in both countries, and grade attainment in Ethiopia. These results provide additional evidence to justify the importance of promoting investments in cognitive skills throughout childhood and adolescence, and these results potentially elucidate how investments in children impact their educational achievements.
  • Publication
    How Early Nutrition and Foundational Cognitive Skills Interconnect? Evidence from Two Developing Countries
    (2022-12-16) Sánchez, Alan; Favara, Marta; Sheridan, Margaret; Behrman, Jere R
    We use unique data collected in Ethiopia and Peru as part of the Young Lives Study to investigate the relationship between early undernutrition and four foundational cognitive skills, the first two of which measure executive functioning: working memory, inhibitory control, long-term memory, and implicit learning. We exploit the rich longitudinal data available to control for potential confounders at the household level and for time-invariant community characteristics. We also exploit the availability of data for paired-siblings to obtain household fixed-effects estimates. Overall, we find robust evidence that stunting is negatively related with the development of executive functions, predicting reductions in working memory and inhibitory control by 12.6% and 5.8% of a standard deviation. Our results shed light on the mechanisms that explain the relationship between early nutrition and school achievement tests suggesting that good nutrition is an important determinant of children’s learning capacities.
  • Publication
    Social Protection and Foundational Cognitive Skills During Adolescence: Evidence from a Large Public Works Programme
    (2022-09-09) Freund, Richard; Favara, Marta; Porter, Catherine; Behrman, Jere R
    Many low- and middle-income countries have introduced Public Works Programmes (PWPs) to fight poverty. PWPs provide temporary cash-for-work opportunities to boost poor households’ incomes and to provide better infrastructure to local communities. While PWPs do not target children directly, the increased demand for adult labour may affect children’s development through increasing households’ incomes and changing household members’ time uses. This paper expands on a multidimensional literature showing the relationship between early life circumstances and learning outcomes and provides the first evidence that children from families who benefit from PWPs show increased foundational cognitive skills (FCS). We focus on four child FCS: inhibitory control, working memory, long-term memory, and implicit learning. Our results, based on unique tablet-based data collected as part of a 20-year longitudinal survey, show positive associations of family participation in the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) in Ethiopia during childhood on long-term memory and implicit learning, with weaker evidence for working memory. These associations appear to be strongest for children whose households were still PSNP participants in the year of data collection. We find suggestive evidence that, the association with implicit learning may be operating through children’s time reallocation away from unpaid labour responsibilities, while the association with long-term memory may be due to the programme’s success in remediating nutritional deficits caused by early life rainfall shocks. Our results suggest that policy interventions such as PWPs may be able to mitigate the effects of early poverty on cognitive skills formation and thereby improve children’s potential future outcomes.