nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2014‒11‒01
three papers chosen by

  1. Disabled children's cognitive development in the early years By Samantha Parsons; Lucinda Platt
  2. A Population Level Study of the Effects of Early Intervention for Autism By Janet Currie; David Figlio; Joshua Goodman; Claudia Persico
  3. The Relationship Between Siblings’ College Choices: Evidence from One Million SATâ€Taking Families By Joshua Goodman; Michael Hurwitz; Jonathan Smith

  1. By: Samantha Parsons (Department of Quantitative Social Science, Institute of Education); Lucinda Platt (Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science)
    Abstract: Disabled children are known to fare worse in terms of educational attainment during their school years, with subsequent consequences for their later transitions and adult outcomes. But despite the acknowledged importance of the early years in children's later outcomes, we know relatively little about when disabled children's educational problems emerge or how they develop in young childhood. In this paper, we use a nationally representative longitudinal survey of UK children to address the following questions: do disabled children in England have lower cognitive skills prior to school entry? How do educational attainment and cognitive skills develop over the early school years relative to their non-disabled peer group? What role do background and environmental factors play in accounting for patterns of disabled children's progress? Using multiple measures of educational and cognitive attainment, and controlling for a number of key child, family and environmental factors, we investigate educational progress across two measures of disability. We find that disabled children have poorer cognitive skills at age 3, and that this is not accounted for by differences in home context. We also find that they make less progress over the early years than their non-disabled peers with similar levels of cognitive skills. Our findings are robust to a series of alternative specifications. Implications are discussed.
    Keywords: Disability, children, educational progress, Millennium Cohort Study, Special Educational Needs, Longstanding Limiting Illness, school, Key Stage 1, England
    JEL: I21 I24 J13 J14
    Date: 2014–10–07
  2. By: Janet Currie; David Figlio; Joshua Goodman; Claudia Persico
    Abstract: Billions of dollars are spent each year on early diagnosis and intervention programs for autism. However, there is little reliable evidence about the effectiveness of these programs. Few studies that evaluate early interventions for autism use random assignment or quasi-experimental designs, and studies of the effects of early intervention programs have relied on small, selected samples that lacked power to detect even moderate associations. A recent meta-analysis by Spreckley and Boyd (2009) on the efficacy of applied behavior intervention in preschool children with autism found that compared with standard care, applied behavior interventions did not significantly improve the cognitive outcomes of the children in these programs. Using population-level data of all children with autism spectrum disorders who were born in the state of Florida between 1994-2002, we evaluate the effects of a free, statewide early diagnosis and intervention program for autism called Early Steps. Families can receive autism diagnoses from one of 18 Early Steps centers located around the state; we make use of distance to the nearest Early Steps center as an instrument for receipt of autism services prior to a child’s fourth birthday. The first stage is very strong: Children living in the same community as an Early Steps center at the time of birth are nearly twice as likely to receive early services as those In communities more than 30 miles away from a center. We use instrumental variables methods to determine whether early diagnosis and intervention impacts (1) short term outcomes, such as kindergarten readiness scores and attending kindergarten on time, (2) grade repetition, (3) significant behavioral problems, and (4) longer term cognitive outcomes, including elementary school test scores. Preliminary results show strong, significant effects of early intervention for autism by age four on attending kindergarten on time, and on third and fourth grade FCAT (Florida’s Comprehensive Assessment Test)�scores. In addition, children who have had early intervention for autism by age four via Early Steps are significantly less likely to have a behavioral incident at school or to be suspended, and have fewer days of suspension than children with later diagnoses of autism. This study is the first population-level study of the effects of early intervention on autism. In addition, this is the first evaluation of a statewide free early diagnosis and intervention program for autism.� Finally, this is the first study to examine the effects of early intervention for autism on school-based cognitive and behavioral outcomes. Thus, this study will hopefully lend insight into how policies that provide free treatment for autistic individuals can lead to a variety of positive developmental outcomes for these children.
    Date: 2014–06
  3. By: Joshua Goodman; Michael Hurwitz; Jonathan Smith
    Abstract: Recent empirical work in education has demonstrated the importance both of peer effects and�of various factors that affect college choices. We connect these literatures by highlighting a�previously unstudied determinant of college choice, namely the college choice made by one’s�older sibling. Data on 1.6 million sibling pairs of SATâ€takers reveals that younger and older�siblings’ choices are very closely related. Oneâ€fifth of younger siblings enroll in the same college�as their older siblings. Conditional on their own academic skill and other characteristics,�younger siblings are about 15 percentage points more likely to enroll in fourâ€year colleges or�highly competitive colleges if their older siblings do so first. These findings vary little by family�income, race or proximity to fourâ€year colleges. Younger siblings are more likely to follow the�college choices of their older siblings the more they resemble each other in academic skill, age�and gender. These results may improve the targeting of college choice interventions and, more�importantly, should prompt further research on the sharing of information and shaping of�educational preferences within families.
    Date: 2014–06

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