(June 2020). Nutrition, Adult Cognitive Skills, and Productivity: Results and Influence of the INCAP Longitudinal Study. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 41(1), S41-S49.
This article summarizes research based on the INCAP Longitudinal Study that demonstrates the positive effects of the atole intervention on prime-age adult cognitive skills and productivities.
The findings are interpreted in the context of a life-cycle stage model in which various factors and investments at each stage of life influence outcomes not only in that stage but in subsequent ones. The results point to the likely importance of improvements in adult cognitive skills due to better early-life nutrition on adult male labor market outcomes as well as on women’s “home productivity” in terms of anthropometrics for the next generation.
Possible mechanisms are also explored, including the impacts of early-life exposure to atole on children’s height when starting school, on grades of schooling attainment, and on the extent of experience with higher-skilled jobs, as well as the impacts of improved cognitive skills on wages. Not only are investments in early-life nutrition important for immediate welfare but also they have significant productivity payoffs in adulthood.