Labor Market Returns to Early Childhood Stimulation: A 20-Year Followup to an Experimental Intervention in Jamaica

63 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Paul J. Gertler

Paul J. Gertler

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

James J. Heckman

University of Chicago - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); American Bar Foundation; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Rodrigo R. Pinto

University of Chicago - Department of Economics

Arianna Zanolini

University of Chicago - Harris Public Policy

Christel Vermeerch

World Bank

Susan Walker

University of the West Indies (Mona)

Susan Chang

University of the West Indies (Mona)

Sally Grantham-McGregor

University College London

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 1, 2013

Abstract

This paper finds large effects on the earnings of participants from a randomized intervention that gave psychosocial stimulation to stunted Jamaican toddlers living in poverty. The intervention consisted of one-hour weekly visits from community Jamaican health workers over a 2-year period that taught parenting skills and encouraged mothers to interact and play with their children in ways that would develop their children's cognitive and personality skills. The authors re-interviewed the study participants 20 years after the intervention. Stimulation increased the average earnings of participants by 42 percent. Treatment group earnings caught up to the earnings of a matched non-stunted comparison group. These findings show that psychosocial stimulation early in childhood in disadvantaged settings can have substantial effects on labor market outcomes and reduce later life inequality.

Keywords: Labor Markets, Educational Sciences, Health Monitoring & Evaluation, Primary Education, Disease Control & Prevention

Suggested Citation

Gertler, Paul J. and Heckman, James J. and Pinto, Rodrigo R. and Zanolini, Arianna and Vermeerch, Christel and Walker, Susan and Chang, Susan and Grantham-McGregor, Sally, Labor Market Returns to Early Childhood Stimulation: A 20-Year Followup to an Experimental Intervention in Jamaica (July 1, 2013). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6529. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2294309

Paul J. Gertler (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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James J. Heckman

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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American Bar Foundation

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Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Rodrigo R. Pinto

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Arianna Zanolini

University of Chicago - Harris Public Policy ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Christel Vermeerch

World Bank

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Susan Walker

University of the West Indies (Mona) ( email )

Kingston
Kingston 7
Mona, Mona Kingston 7
Jamaica

Susan Chang

University of the West Indies (Mona) ( email )

Kingston
Kingston 7
Mona, Mona Kingston 7
Jamaica

Sally Grantham-McGregor

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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