Helping Children Catch Up: Early Life Shocks and the Progresa Experiment

76 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2018 Last revised: 24 May 2021

See all articles by Achyuta Adhvaryu

Achyuta Adhvaryu

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Anant Nyshadham

Boston College - Department of Economics

Teresa Molina

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Jorge Tamayo

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Date Written: July 2018

Abstract

Can investing in children who faced adverse events in early childhood help them catch up? We answer this question using two orthogonal sources of variation – resource availability at birth (local rainfall) and cash incentives for school enrollment – to identify the interaction between early endowments and investments in children. We find that adverse rainfall in the year of birth decreases grade attainment, post-secondary enrollment, and employment outcomes. But children whose families were randomized to receive conditional cash transfers experienced a much smaller decline: each additional year of program exposure during childhood mitigated more than 20 percent of early disadvantage.

Suggested Citation

Adhvaryu, Achyuta and Nyshadham, Anant and Molina, Teresa and Tamayo, Jorge A., Helping Children Catch Up: Early Life Shocks and the Progresa Experiment (July 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24848, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3218100

Achyuta Adhvaryu (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Anant Nyshadham

Boston College - Department of Economics ( email )

140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States

Teresa Molina

University of Hawaii at Manoa ( email )

2500 Campus Road
Honolulu, HI NA 96822
United States

Jorge A. Tamayo

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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