Early Childhood Development, Human Capital and Poverty

57 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2021 Last revised: 25 Mar 2022

See all articles by Orazio Attanasio

Orazio Attanasio

Yale University

Sarah Cattan

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

Costas Meghir

Yale University; Yale University - Cowles Foundation; Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: October 2021

Abstract

Children's experiences during early childhood are critical for their cognitive and socio-emotional development, two key dimensions of human capital. However, children from low income backgrounds often grow up lacking stimulation and basic investments, leading to developmental deficits that are difficult, if not impossible, to reverse later in life without intervention. The existence of these deficits are a key driver of inequality and contribute to the intergenerational transmission of poverty. In this paper, we discuss the framework used in economics to model parental investments and early childhood development and use it as an organizing tool to review some of the empirical evidence on early childhood research. We then present results from various important early childhoods interventions with emphasis on developing countries. Bringing these elements together we draw conclusions on what we have learned and provide some directions for future research.

Suggested Citation

Attanasio, Orazio and Cattan, Sarah and Meghir, Costas, Early Childhood Development, Human Capital and Poverty (October 2021). NBER Working Paper No. w29362, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3940050

Orazio Attanasio (Contact Author)

Yale University

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

Sarah Cattan

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Costas Meghir

Yale University ( email )

37 Hillhouse avenue
New Haven, CT CT 06511
United States
+12034323558 (Phone)

Yale University - Cowles Foundation ( email )

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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