UCL Department of Economics


Promises For Preschoolers: Early Childhood Development and Human Capital Accumulation

Christopher Ingold Auditorium, UCL, 25-26 June 2012


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University College London

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Institute for New Economic Thinking

Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group at the Institute for New Economic Thinking

The early years in the life of an individual have been proven to be crucial for his/her development. Events in early years have long lasting consequences. Moreover, development in early years can be affected by policy interventions.  A good understanding of the process through which human capital, in its many dimensions, is developed is therefore crucial for the design of good policies. An understanding of the factors and constraints that affect household investment decisions in human capital is also key. And yet there are many unresolved issues. This conference brings together economists, child development specialists, policy makers, staff of international financial organizations to discuss the main issues of this research agenda and exchange experiences on several interventions. 

To register please complete the Conference Registration Form

Monday, 25 June

Registration and coffee
Opening Address: Andrew Mitchell (Secretary of State, DfID) (TBC)
Introduction: Orazio Attanasio, University College London and Howard White, 3ie

Session 1. Describing and Interpreting Cognitive Development
  Chair: Ted Melhuish
09:30-10:00 Melissa Hidrobo (IFPRI)

“SES gradients in child development in very young children from India, Indonesia, Peru and Senegal.” (Lia Fernald, Patricia Kariger and Paul Gertler)
10:00-10:30 Norbert Schady (Inter-American Development Bank): “Wealth gradients in early childhood cognitive development in five Latin American countries” (co-authors: David Bravo, Maria Caridad Araujo, Rodrigo Azuero, Raquel Bernal, Florencia Lopez-Boo, Karen Macours, Daniela Marshall, Christina Paxson and Renos Vakis) 
10:30-11:00 Coffee and Networking Break
11:00-11:30 Sally Grantham-McGregor

“Wealth gradients in Bangladesh” (co-authors: Jena Hamadami and Orazio Attanasio)
11:30-12:00 Pedro Carneiro (UCL & Georgetown): “The timing of income shocks and human capital development” (co-authors:  Italo Lopez, Kjell Salvanes and Emma Tominey).
12:00-12:30 Panel Discussion: What are the policy implications of the existence of a large SES gradient in child development and one that emerges very early?

Pablo Stansbery, Save the Children, USA; Melissa Kelly, Save the Children, USA.
Session 2. Investing in the Very Early Years
  Chair: Orazio Attanasio

Arianna Zanolini (University of Chicago):

“Labor market returns to early childhood stimulation: a 20 year follow up to the Jamaica Study” (co-authors: Paul Gertler, Rodrigo Pinto, James Heckman, Susan Walker,  Susan Chang, Christel Vermeersch and Sally Grantham-McGregor).


Marta Rubio-Codina (EDePo@IFS):

“Stimulation and childhood development in Colombia: the impact of a scalable intervention” (co-authors: Orazio Attanasio, Emla Fitzsimons, Sally Grantham-McGregor and Costas Meghir).

15:00:15:30 Coffee and Networking Break

Karen Macours (PSE):

“Experimental evidence from an early childhood parenting intervention in Nicaragua” (co-authors: Patrick Premand, Norbert Schady and Renos Vakis).


Orla Doyle (University College Dublin):

“Measuring Investment in Human Capital Formation: An Experimental Analysis of Early Life Outcomes” (co-authors: Colm Harmon, James Heckman,  C. Logue, Seong Moon).

Coffee and Networking Break

Emanuela Galasso (Wold Bank): 

“The role of beliefs in parenting and early childhood development” (co-authors: Pedro Carneiro and Italo Lopez)

Panel Discussion: What are productive, cost effective and scalable very early years interventions (targeted to children aged 0 to 2 years)? Who should run them and why?  What further evidence do we need to assist in the design and implementation of these programs?
Stefan Dercon, Chief Economist, DFID, UK; Ms Nurper Ulkuer, Chief, ECD Unit, UNICEF New York, USA.

Tuesday 26 June

Session 3. The pre-school years 
  Chair: Howard White
09:00-09:30 Helen Baker-Henningham (Tropical Medicine Research Institute, University of the West Indies):

“Preventing child conduct problems and promoting social-emotional competence: A universal intervention in Jamaican preschools” (co-authors: Stephen Scott and Susan Walker)
09:30-10:00 Lia Fernald (University of California, Berkeley):

“CONAFE early childhood intervention” (co-authors Pat Engel and Lynette Neufeld)
10:00-10:30 Sebastian Martinez (IDB):

“The promise of Pre-school in Africa” (co-authors: Sophie Nadeau and Vitor Pereira)
10:30-11:00 Coffee and Networking Break
11:00-11:20 Hugh Waddington:

Systematic reviews: A useful tool for establishing evidence.
11:20-11:50 Paola Gadsden (INSP, Mexico):

 “Systematic Review of The Effectiveness of Day Care interventions on Child Health, Nutrition and Development in Developing Countries”
11:50-12:20 Panel Discussion:  What are productive, cost effective and scalable pre-school, centre based interventions (targeted to children 3 to 5)? Who should run them and why?  What further evidence do we need to assist in the design and implementation of these programs?

Andrea Portugal, Director of Cuna Mas, Peru; Margaret Okai, National Coordinator, ECD Unit, Ghana Education Services.
12:20-13:30 Lunch
Session 4. Accumulation of Human Capital  
  Chair: Howard White

Limor Golan (Washington University at St Louis):

“Estimating the returns to parental time investment in children using a lifecycle dynastic model” (co-authors: G. Gayle and Mehmet Soytas)


14:10-14:50 Sue Walker (Tropical Medicine Research Institute, University of the West Indies): 

“Do early childhood experiences affect development in the next generation: Preliminary findings from the Jamaica intergenerational study” (co-authors: Susan Chang, Sally Grantham-McGregor, Clive Osmond and Florencia Lopez-Boo)
14:50-15:20 Coffee and Networking Break
15:20-16:00 Flavio Cunha (U Penn):

“Eliciting Maternal Beliefs about the Technology of Skill Formation” (co-authors: Jennifer Culhane and Irma Elo).
16:00-16:40 Maureen Black (University of Maryland School of Medicine):

“Integrating nutrition and child development interventions among infants in rural India: Lessons from the field” (co-authors: Sylvia Fernandez Rao, Kristen Hurley, Shahnaz Vazir, Madhavan Nair, Nagalla Balakrishna, Sashikiran Boindala, Radhakrishna, Nick Tilton, Kim Harding, and Greg Rheinhart).
16:40-17:10 Coffee and Networking Break
17:10-17:40 Panel Discussion: What financial models could be used to scale up effective ECD interventions? What should the role of government, foundations, corporate philantropy be? 

Peter Colenso, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation; Arturo Saenz, CONAFE, Mexico; Orazio Attanasio (IFS & UCL).
17:40 Closing Remarks

Jenny Amery, Chief Professional Officer of Human Development, DFID (TBC)