Human Capital Development Before Age Five

142 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2010 Last revised: 23 Apr 2010

See all articles by Douglas Almond

Douglas Almond

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Janet Currie

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Princeton University

Date Written: March 2010

Abstract

This chapter seeks to set out what Economists have learned about the effects of early childhood influences on later life outcomes, and about ameliorating the effects of negative influences. We begin with a brief overview of the theory which illustrates that evidence of a causal relationship between a shock in early childhood and a future outcome says little about whether the relationship in question biological or immutable. We then survey recent work which shows that events before five years old can have large long term impacts on adult outcomes. Child and family characteristics measured at school entry do as much to explain future outcomes as factors that labor economists have more traditionally focused on, such as years of education. Yet while children can be permanently damaged at this age, an important message is that the damage can often be remediated. We provide a brief overview of evidence regarding the effectiveness of different types of policies to provide remediation. We conclude with a list of some of (the many) outstanding questions for future research.

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Suggested Citation

Almond, Douglas Vincent and Currie, Janet, Human Capital Development Before Age Five (March 2010). NBER Working Paper No. w15827. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1574646

Douglas Vincent Almond (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Janet Currie

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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United States

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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Princeton University ( email )

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United States
6092587393 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.princeton.edu/~jcurrie

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