Estimating the Production Function for Human Capital: Results from a Randomized Control Trial in Colombia

By: Costas Meghir (Economics Deptartment, Yale University) ; Orazio Attanasio (University College London) ; Sarah Cattan (Institute for Fiscal Studies) ;Emla Fitzsimons (UCL Institute of Education and Institute for Fiscal Studies) ; Marta Rubio-Codina (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Inter-American Development Bank)
We examine the channels through which a randomized early childhood intervention in Colombia led to significant gains in cognitive and socio-emotional skills among a sample of disadvantaged children. We estimate production functions for cognitive and socio-emotional skills as a function of maternal skills and child’s past skills, as well as material and time investments that are treated as endogenous. The effects of the program can be fully explained by increases in parental investments, which have strong effects on outcomes and are complementary to both maternal skills and child’s past skills.
Keywords: human capital, early childhood development, poverty alleviation
JEL: J13 J24 I24 I25 I32 O15

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