Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/115414
Authors: 
Lopez Boo, Florencia
Year of Publication: 
2013
Series/Report no.: 
IDB Working Paper Series IDB-WP-435
Abstract: 
This paper documents disparities in cognitive development-as measured by a receptive vocabulary test-between children from households with high and low socioeconomic status (SES) in two different phases of childhood (before and after early school years) in four developing countries: Peru, Ethiopia, India, and Vietnam. Intercontinental evidence on the timing, shape, pattern, and persistence of these disparities is provided. The nonparametric analysis suggests that disparities found at age 5 persist into the early school years across all four countries, and the conditional analysis shows that SES disparities seem to fall over time. However, both the magnitude of the gap and the degree of persistence vary. The main result is that Peru stands out, not only as the country with the largest cross-section disparity between rich and poor (of around 1.30-1.40 standard deviations), but also as the country with the highest persistence in cognitive development, as shown by the value-added specification. The latter suggests fewer opportunities for convergence in cognitive development between rich and poor over time in this Latin American country. Some channels behind these trends are discussed, but overall, the SES gradient persists even when controlling for a large number of important mediators, such as preschool, early nutrition, and schooling. Past performance on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) is the most important mediator of the SES gradient at age 8.
Subjects: 
cognitive skills
inequality
Latin America
Peru
Vietnam
Ethiopia
India
JEL: 
I14
I24
J13
J24
O53
O54
O55
Persistent Identifier of the first edition: 
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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