Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Early childhood stimulation intervention in Jamaica yields better pay in adulthood

Date:
May 29, 2014
Source:
University of California - Berkeley Haas School of Business
Summary:
Early childhood development programs are particularly important for disadvantaged children in Jamaica and can greatly impact an individual's ability to earn more money as an adult, new research finds.

In the Friday (May 30) edition of the journal Science, researchers find that early childhood development programs are particularly important for disadvantaged children in Jamaica and can greatly impact an individual's ability to earn more money as an adult.

The 20-year study, "Labor Market Returns to an Early Childhood Stimulation Intervention in Jamaica" by University of California, Berkeley, professor Paul Gertler, an economist at the Haas School of Business and the School of Public Health, and Nobel Prize winner James Heckman of the University of Chicago, tracks the employment status of adults who once lived in the poor Kingston neighborhood as toddlers in the 1980's. Those exposed to high-quality psychosocial stimulation have positive earnings and better economic status today.

In the program, designed by Sally Grantham-McGregor of University College London and Susan Walker of the University of West Indies, community health workers made weekly home visits and taught mothers how to play and interact with their children in ways that promote cognitive and emotional development. For example, mothers were encouraged to talk with their children, to label things and actions, and to play educational games with their children, emphasizing language development and the use of praise to improve the self-esteem of mothers and children.

Mirroring the mission of the Head Start program in the United States, this simple intervention focused on reducing developmental delays faced by children in poverty.

Twenty years later, the researchers interviewed 105 of the study's original 127 child participants who were now adults. They found that children randomized to participate in the program were earning 25 percent more than those in the control group, enough of an increase to match the earnings of a non-disadvantaged population. The intervention compensated for the economic consequences of early developmental delays and reduced later-life inequality.

"To our knowledge, this is the first long-term, experimental evaluation of an early childhood development program in a developing country," said Gertler, who also works with the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), a UC Berkeley-based research network designing anti-poverty programs for low- and middle-income countries.

This study adds to the body of evidence, including Head Start and the Perry Preschool programs carried out from 1962-1967 in the U.S., demonstrating long-term economic gains from investments in early childhood development.

"Head Start programs are critical to breaking the cycle of poverty," said U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), a member of the Labor and Education Appropriates Committee. "By investing in the academic and developmental needs of young children, we are preparing them to thrive in the economy of the future."

Results from the Jamaica study show substantially greater effects on earnings than similar programs in wealthier countries. Gertler said this suggests that early childhood interventions can create a substantial impact on a child's future economic success in poor countries.

"We now have tangible proof of the potential benefits of early childhood stimulation and the importance of parenting in a developing country. At a time when inequality around the globe is increasing, it is encouraging to see how much good can be accomplished with early intervention," Gertler said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Berkeley Haas School of Business. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. P. Gertler, J. Heckman, R. Pinto, A. Zanolini, C. Vermeersch, S. Walker, S. M. Chang, S. Grantham-McGregor. Labor market returns to an early childhood stimulation intervention in Jamaica. Science, 2014; 344 (6187): 998 DOI: 10.1126/science.1251178

Cite This Page:

University of California - Berkeley Haas School of Business. "Early childhood stimulation intervention in Jamaica yields better pay in adulthood." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140529142354.htm>.
University of California - Berkeley Haas School of Business. (2014, May 29). Early childhood stimulation intervention in Jamaica yields better pay in adulthood. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140529142354.htm
University of California - Berkeley Haas School of Business. "Early childhood stimulation intervention in Jamaica yields better pay in adulthood." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140529142354.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Free College Tuition to Break Cycle of Poverty

Free College Tuition to Break Cycle of Poverty

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Alvernia University is trying to help kids break the cycle of poverty in Reading, Pennsylvania, one of the nation's poorest cities, by offering them full scholarships along with intensive tutoring and mentoring. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Uzi Shooting Spurs Debate Over Children Using Guns

Uzi Shooting Spurs Debate Over Children Using Guns

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) A 9-year-old girl fatally shot her instructor after losing control of her Uzi at a firing range. Critics question why she had the gun to begin with. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO Calls for Ban on E-Cigarette Sales to Minors

WHO Calls for Ban on E-Cigarette Sales to Minors

AFP (Aug. 26, 2014) The World Health Organization called Tuesday on governments should ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, warning that they pose a "serious threat" to foetuses and young people. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
ICREACH: NSA Built A Google Of Americans' Info

ICREACH: NSA Built A Google Of Americans' Info

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) The Intercept published an article Monday profiling what the online publication called NSA's very own Google of personal data. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins