Jere Behrman, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Economics, received an award from the National Institutes of Health ad the Principal Investigator on the “Foundational cognitive skills in developing countries: early-life nutritional, climatic and policy determinants and impacts on adolescent education, socio-emotional competencies and risky behaviors."
Abstract: Early undernutrition and climate variation are widespread in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and claimed to have long-lasting consequences. However, there is little population-based evidence about mechanisms through which early-life undernutrition and climatic variations lead to poorer adolescent and adult outcomes and whether early-life deficits may be mitigated. This project investigates impacts of undernutrition and climatic variations on foundational cognitive skills (FCS), importantly including executive function (EF). The project uses unique data on FCS collected in Ethiopia and Peru as part of the Young Lives Study (YLS), the largest multi-country cohort dataset on childhood poverty and wellbeing in LMICs. The analysis promises significant contributions for (1) deeper understanding of how early-life nutrition, climatic variations and other events affect FCS, (2) how policy interventions can help mitigate the effects of early childhood poverty through affecting EF in contexts of two very different countries, (3) what are the impacts of late childhood FCS on adolescent outcomes.