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Orazio Attanasio Publications

Publish Date
Journal of Development Economics

We present evidence from a randomised experiment testing the impacts of a six-month early childhood home-visiting program on child outcomes and parental investment behaviour at school entry. Two and a half years after completion of the program, we find large persistent effects on parental investment at home, as well as large effects on preschool enrolment. Children in treatment villages were enrolled earlier and in higher quality preschools, the latter reflecting a shift in preferences over preschool attributes towards quality. Finally, we find evidence that the program increased child working memory, but do not find strong evidence of impacts on other cognitive sub-domains or on non-cognitive skills of children at school entry.


United States households’ consumption expenditures and car purchases collapsed during the Great Recession and more so than income changes would have predicted. Using CEX data, we show that both the extensive and the intensive car spending margins contracted sharply in the Great Recession. We also document significant crosscohort differences in the impact of the Great Recession including a stronger reduction in car spending by younger cohorts. We draw inference on the sources of the Great Recession by investigating which shocks can explain household choices in a 60 period life-cycle model with idiosyncratic and aggregate shocks fitted to aggregate and lifecycle moments. We find that the Great Recession was caused by a combination of large aggregate income and wealth shocks, while cross-cohort adjustment patterns imply a role for life-cycle income profile shocks. We also find a role for car loan premia shocks in accounting for car spending and car loans.


Poor early childhood development in low- and middle-income countries is a major public health problem. Efficacy trials have shown the potential of early childhood development interventions but scaling up is costly and challenging. Guidance on effective interventions’ delivery is needed. In an open-label cluster-randomized control trial, we compared the effectiveness of weekly home visits and weekly mother-child group sessions. Both included nutritional education, whose effectiveness was tested separately.