Wealth Disparities for Early Childhood Anthropometrics and Skills: Evidence from Chilean Longitudinal Data

37 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2017

See all articles by Jere Behrman

Jere Behrman

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics

Dante Contreras

University of Chile - Department of Economics

Isidora Palma

University of Chile

Esteban Puentes

University of Chile - Diagonal Paraguay

Date Written: September 28, 2017

Abstract

We study wealth disparities in the formation of anthropometrics, cognitive skills and socio-emotional skills. We use a sample of preschool and early school children in Chile. We extend the previous literature by using longitudinal data, which allow us to study the dynamics of child growth and skills formation. Also, we include information on mother's and father's schooling attainment and mother's cognitive ability. We find that there are no significant anthropometric differences favoring the better-off at birth (and indeed length differences at birth to the disadvantage of the better-off), but during the first 30 months of life wealth disparities in height-for-age z scores (HAZ) favoring the better-off emerge. Moreover, we find wealth disparities in cognitive skills favoring the better-off emerge early in life and continue after children turn 6 years of age. We find no concurrent wealth disparities for and socio-emotional skills. Thus, even though the wealth disparities in birth outcomes if anything favor the poor, significant disparities favoring the rich emerge in the early post-natal period. Mother's education and cognitive ability also are significantly associated with disparities in skill formation.

Keywords: wealth disparities, anthropometrics, cognitive skills, socio-emotional skills

JEL Classification: I14, I31, D30

Suggested Citation

Behrman, Jere R. and Contreras, Dante and Palma, Isidora and Puentes, Esteban, Wealth Disparities for Early Childhood Anthropometrics and Skills: Evidence from Chilean Longitudinal Data (September 28, 2017). PIER Working Paper No. 17-019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3044485 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3044485

Jere R. Behrman (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-7704 (Phone)
215-573-2057 (Fax)

Dante Contreras

University of Chile - Department of Economics ( email )

Diagonal Paraguay 257
Torre 26, Of. 1801
Santiago
Chile

Isidora Palma

University of Chile ( email )

Pío Nono Nº1, Providencia
Santiago, R. Metropolitana 7520421
Chile

Esteban Puentes

University of Chile - Diagonal Paraguay

257 OF 1206
Santiago
Chile

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