nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2009‒01‒10
two papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. What determines adult cognitive skills?: Impacts of preschooling, schooling, and post-schooling experiences in Guatemala By Behrman, Jere R.; Hoddinott, John; Maluccio, John A.; Soler-Hampejsek, Erica; Behrman, Emily L.; Martorell, Reynaldo; Ramírez-Zea, Manuel; Stein, Aryeh D.
  2. Lost in the Mail: A Field Experiment on Crime By Marco Castillo; Ragan Petrie; Maximo Torero; Angelino Viceisza

  1. By: Behrman, Jere R.; Hoddinott, John; Maluccio, John A.; Soler-Hampejsek, Erica; Behrman, Emily L.; Martorell, Reynaldo; Ramírez-Zea, Manuel; Stein, Aryeh D.
    Abstract: "Most investigations into the importance and determinants of adult cognitive skills assume that (1) they are produced primarily by schooling, and (2) schooling is statistically predetermined or exogenous. This study uses longitudinal data collected in Guatemala over 35 years to investigate production functions for adult cognitive skills—that is, reading-comprehension skills and nonverbal cognitive skills—as being dependent on behaviorally determined preschooling, schooling, and post-schooling experiences. We use an indicator of whether the child was stunted (child height-for-age Z-score < –2) as our representation of preschooling experiences, and we use tenure in skilled occupations as our representation of post-schooling experiences. The results indicate that assumptions (1) and (2) lead to a substantial overemphasis on schooling and an underemphasis on pre- and post-schooling experiences. The magnitudes of the effects of these pre- and post-schooling experiences are large. For example, the impact on reading-comprehension scores of not being stunted at age 6 is equivalent to the impact of four grades of schooling. These findings also have other important implications. For example, they (1) reinforce the importance of early life investments; (2) point to limitations in using adult schooling to represent human capital in the cross-country growth literature; (3) support the importance of childhood nutrition and work complexity in explaining the “Flynn effect,” or the substantial increases in measured cognitive skills over time; and (4) lead to doubts about the interpretations of studies that report productivity impacts of cognitive skills without controlling for skill endogeneity." from authors' abstract
    Keywords: Human capital, cognitive skills, Stunting, work experience, Development, Education, Gender, Health and nutrition,
    Date: 2008
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:fpr:ifprid:826&r=lam
  2. By: Marco Castillo; Ragan Petrie; Maximo Torero; Angelino Viceisza
    Abstract: Crime in the mail sector can hamper the development of electronic markets. We use a field experiment to detect crime and measure its differential impacts. We subtly, and realistically, manipulate the content and information available in mail sent to households and detect high levels of shirking and stealing. Eighteen percent of the mail never arrived at its destination, and even more was lost if there was even a slight hint of something additional inside the envelope. Our study demonstrates that privatization has been unable to extricate moral hazard and that crime is strategic and not equally distributed across the population.
    Date: 2009–01
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:exc:wpaper:2009-01&r=lam

This nep-lam issue is ©2009 by Maximo Rossi. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at http://nep.repec.org. For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <director@nep.repec.org>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.