New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2014‒05‒24
three papers chosen by

  1. Boys' Cognitive Skill Formation and Physical Growth: Long-term Experimental Evidence on Critical Ages for Early Childhood Interventions By Tania Barham; Karen Macours; John A. Maluccio
  2. Intercontinental Evidence on Socioeconomic Status and Early Childhood: Cognitive Skills: Is Latin America Different? By Florencia López Bóo
  3. The relationship between objective and subjective wealth is moderated by financial control and mediated by money anxiety By Gasiorowska, Agata

  1. By: Tania Barham; Karen Macours; John A. Maluccio
    Abstract: The effects of early life circumstances on cognitive skill formation are important for later human capital development, labor market outcomes and well-being. In this paper, we test the hypothesis that the first 1,000 days are the critical window for both cognitive skill formation and physical development by exploiting a randomized conditional cash transfer (CCT) program in Nicaragua. We find that boys exposed in utero and during the first 2 years of life, have better cognitive, but not physical, outcomes when they are 10 years old compared to those also exposed, but in their second year of life or later. These results confirm that interventions that improve nutrition and/or health during the first 1,000 days of life can have lasting positive impacts on cognitive development for children. The finding that the results differ for cognitive functioning and anthropometrics highlights the importance of explicitly considering cognitive tests, in addition to anthropometrics, when analyzing impacts on early childhood development.
    Keywords: Early Childhood Education, Youth & Children, Nutrition
    Date: 2013–06
  2. By: Florencia López Bóo
    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.
    Keywords: Nutrition, Poverty, Cognitive development, Cognitive development
    Date: 2013–08
  3. By: Gasiorowska, Agata
    Abstract: Prior research has showed that the subjective perception of objective wealth might be affected by various individual difference variables, such as one’s love of money, level of aspirations, and materialistic inclinations. This paper examines a model of subjective wealth that controls attitudes toward money and objective wealth. Subjective wealth has been operationalized as a combination of the assessment of financial situation, the ability to make ends meet and perceived adequacy of income to fulfill needs and wants. Objective wealth has been captured by personal net income as well as household income. Results show that two dimensions of money attitudes affect the subjective perception of objective wealth. Individuals' perceived financial control (the ability to budget, monitor, and control their money) serves as a moderator for the relationship between objective and subjective wealth: The relationship between the two is stronger for individuals high in financial control and planning than for those low. Furthermore, money anxiety (worry and indecisiveness regarding money-related issues) is negatively related to objective measures of wealth and its subjective evaluation, and partially mediates the objective–subjective wealth relationship.
    Keywords: income, money attitudes, objective wealth, subjective wealth, wealth perception
    JEL: D12 D14 D31
    Date: 2014–05–06

General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. 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.