Preschool and Child Development Under Extreme Poverty: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Rural Mozambique

50 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2017

See all articles by Sebastian Martinez

Sebastian Martinez

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) - Office of Strategic Planning and Development Effectiveness

Sophie Naudeau

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Vitor Azevedo Pereira

Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) - Department of Economics

Date Written: December 22, 2017

Abstract

This study analyzed the impact of a community-based preschool program on child development and schooling outcomes in high-poverty areas of rural Mozambique. Preschools were randomly assigned to 30 of 76 eligible communities. Using a panel survey of 2,000 households with preschool aged children, the study found that children who attended preschool experienced gains in cognitive development, communication, fine motor skills, and socio-emotional skills, scoring 0.33 standard deviations higher on a child development screening test. Preschoolers were 21 percentage points more likely to be enrolled in primary school, 14.9 percentage points more likely to enroll at the appropriate age, and had higher cognitive and communication scores in first grade. Treatment effects were generally larger for children from vulnerable households, those with higher initial development levels, and those with longer exposure to treatment. The preschool intervention also generated positive spillovers by increasing the school enrollment of older siblings and labor supply of adult caregivers. At a cost of approximately $3 per child per month, community-led preschools have the potential to be a cost-effective policy option for helping children meet their development potential even in the most resource deprived parts of the world.

Keywords: Services & Transfers to Poor, Technology Industry, Technology Innovation, Early Childhood Development, Disability, Educational Populations, Economic Assistance, Access of Poor to Social Services, Education for Development (superceded), Reproductive Health, Nutrition, Education For All, Social Capital, Early Child and Children's Health

Suggested Citation

Martinez, Sebastian and Naudeau, Sophie and Pereira, Vitor Azevedo, Preschool and Child Development Under Extreme Poverty: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Rural Mozambique (December 22, 2017). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8290, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3092440

Sebastian Martinez (Contact Author)

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) - Office of Strategic Planning and Development Effectiveness ( email )

Washington, DC
United States

Sophie Naudeau

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

Vitor Azevedo Pereira

Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) - Department of Economics

Rua Marques de Sao Vicente, 225/206F
Rio de Janeiro, RJ 22453
Brazil

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