Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Measurement and Estimation of Early Life Health and Human Capital Accumulation in Developing Countries
by Cummins, Joseph Rice, Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2014, 135; 3637814
Abstract (Summary)

Children who grow up in poverty tend to be less healthy, less well educated, and earn less money as adults than their non-poor peers. However, it is often difficult to quantify the independent causal effects of the various components of poverty on child health and cognitive development. This dissertation focuses on two aspects of quantifying the effects of inputs and policies on child health and human capital accumulation in developing countries: the measurement of child health and human capital, and the estimation of the effects of economic inputs on these measures. In the first chapter I describe an artifact in Demographic and Health Survey data of child height-for-age Z-score. I show that commonly used econometric strategies can lead to strongly biased estimates of causal effects when the biological process of under-nutrition over the age-cycle is not properly accounted for in the estimation model. In the second chapter, I re-analyze data from a Kenyan school reform experiment that tested the effects of ability tracking in primary school. Using estimators that capture heterogeneity in treatment effects across the intellectual ability distribution, and in contrast to the initial published results of the experiment, I show that the policy may have had negative effects on the best students placed into the low ability tracks. In the third chapter, I discuss the economic research associated with the Rang-Din Nutrition Study, a cluster-randomized control trial on the effectiveness of a new generation of nutritional supplements currently underway in rural Bangladesh. I provide background on the study objectives and design, outline a theoretical economic model of household decision making that frames the economic research, and describe several empirical economic analyses currently in progress.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hoynes, Hilary, Miller, Douglas
Commitee: Vosti, Stephen A.
School: University of California, Davis
Department: Economics
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 76/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Labor economics
Keywords: Developing countries, Early life health, Estimation, Human capital accumulation, Measurement
Publication Number: 3637814
ISBN: 9781321211023
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