Dr. Behrman’s research is in empirical microeconomics, economic development, early childhood development, labor economics, human resources, economic demography, household behaviors, life-cycle and intergenerational relations, and policy evaluation. He has published over 460 professional articles and 35 books.
He has worked with numerous international organizations and governments, been involved in professional research or lecturing in over 40 countries, principal investigator or investigator on over 160 research projects and received various honors for his research, including Econometric Society Fellow, 40th Anniversary Fulbright Fellow, 2008 biennial Carlos Diaz-Alejandro Prize for outstanding research contributions to Latin America, 2011 Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Chile, member of the US National Institutes of Child Health and Development (NICHD) Advisory Council, 2017 Population Association of America Irene B. Taeuber Award, member of the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) Committee on Population.
(July 2020). Anthropometric, Cognitive, and Schooling Benefits of Measles Vaccination: Longitudinal Cohort Analysis in Ethiopia, India, and Vietnam. Vaccine, 37(31), 4336-4343.
To estimate the associations between measles vaccination and child anthropometry, cognition, and schooling outcomes in Ethiopia, India, and Vietnam.
Longitudinal survey data from Young Lives were used to compare outcomes at ages 7–8 and 11–12 years between children who reported receipt or non-receipt of measles vaccine at 6–18 months-of-life (n = ∼2000/country). Z-scores of height-for-age (HAZ), BMI-for-age (BMIZ), weight-for-age (WAZ), Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT), early grade reading assessment (EGRA), language and mathematics tests, and attained schooling grade were examined. Propensity score matching was used to control for systematic differences between measles-vaccinated and measles-unvaccinated children.
Using age- and country-matched measles-unvaccinated children as comparisons, measles-vaccinated children had better anthropometrics, cognition, and schooling. Measles-vaccinated children had 0.1 higher HAZ in India and 0.2 higher BMIZ and WAZ in Vietnam at age 7–8 years, and 0.2 higher BMIZ at age 11–12 years in Vietnam. At ages 7–8 years, they scored 4.5 and 2.9 percentage points (pp) more on PPVT and mathematics, and 2.3 points more on EGRA in Ethiopia, 2.5 points more on EGRA in India, and 2.6 pp, 4 pp, and 2.7 points more respectively on PPVT, mathematics, and EGRA in Vietnam. At ages 11–12 years, they scored 3 pp more on English and PPVT in India, and 1.7 pp more on PPVT in Vietnam. They also attained 0.2–0.3 additional schooling grades across all ages and countries.
Our findings suggest that measles vaccination may have benefits on cognitive gains and school-grade attainment that can have broad educational and economic consequences that extend beyond early childhood.
(May 2020). Impact of the NREGS on Children’s Intellectual Human Capital. The Journal of Development Studies, 56(5), 929-945.
This paper uses panel data from the Young Lives Survey to examine the effect of the world’s largest public works program and India’s flagship social protection program, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), on children’s learning outcomes such as grade progression, reading comprehension test scores, writing test scores, math test scores, and Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) scores.
We find that the program has strong positive effects on these outcomes in both the short-and-medium run. Finally, the impact estimates reported here are robust to a number of econometric concerns such as – program placement, selective attrition, and type I error.
(April 2020). Impact of the Juntos Conditional Cash Transfer Program on Nutritional and Cognitive Outcomes in Peru: Comparison between Younger and Older Initial Exposure. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 68(3), 865-897.
We evaluate whether the Juntos conditional cash transfer program in Peru has a larger effect on children who benefited initially from the program during the first 4 years of life compared with those children who benefited initially between ages 5 and 8. The former group was exposed during early-life sensitive periods, received the program for a longer period, and received more growth monitoring sessions and vaccinations.
We find that exposure to Juntos led to an improvement in nutritional status and in cognitive achievement, both of which were greater, but only the latter was significant for those initially exposed during the first 4 years of life.