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Contribution Details

Type Working Paper
Scope Discipline-based scholarship
Title Health and skill formation in early childhood
Organization Unit
  • Pietro Biroli
  • English
Institution University of Zurich
Series Name UBS Center Working Paper Series
Number 17
ISSN 2296-2778
Number of Pages 35
Date 2016
Abstract Text This paper analyzes the developmental origins and the evolution of health, cognitive, and socio-emotional skills during early childhood, from age 0 to 5. We explicitly model the dynamic interactions of health with the child’s behavior and cognitive skills, as well as the role of parental investment. A dynamic factor model corrects for the presence of measurement error in the proxy for the latent traits. Using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), we find that children’s capabilities strongly interact and build on each other: health is an important determinant of early socio-emotional development; in turn socio-emotional skills have a positive impact on the evolution of both health and cognitive functions; on the other side, the effect of cognitive abilities on health is negligible. Furthermore, all facets of human capital display a high degree of persistence. Finally, mother’s investments are an important determinant of the child’s health, cognitive, and socio-emotional development early in life.
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Keywords Human capital, health, early childhood, family investment, intergenerational transmission, ALSPAC