NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Helping Children Catch Up: Early Life Shocks and the PROGRESA Experiment

Achyuta Adhvaryu, Anant Nyshadham, Teresa Molina, Jorge Tamayo

NBER Working Paper No. 24848
Issued in July 2018
NBER Program(s):Program on Children, Development Economics Program, Economics of Education Program

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24848

 
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