Seminario de Investigación "Developmental Losses in Young Children from Pre-Primary Program Closures during the COVID-19 Pandemic"

El seminario destinado a docentes, investigadores, becarios y estudiantes interesados en la temática, se realizó el viernes 8 de julio a las 12:30 horas por videoconferencia. La presentación estuvo a cargo de Alejandra Abufhele (Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez).

Alejandra Abufhele es Profesora Asistente de la Escuela de Gobierno de la Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, Investigadora Asociada del Centro de Encuestas y Estudios Longitudinales e Investigadora Adjunta del Centro de Estudios de Conflicto y Cohesión Social (COES) y del Núcleo Milenio de Movilidad Intergeneracional de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Es Ingeniera Comercial Mención Economía y Magíster en Políticas Públicas por la Universidad de Chile, y Doctora en Demografía por la Universidad de Pennsylvania. Sus investigaciones se centran en temas de demografía social, primera infancia, desigualdad y pobreza y sus trabajos han sido publicados en revistas académicas como Social Science and Medicine, American Journal of Sociology, entre otras. 

Abstract: The learning and developmental losses from pre-primary program closures due to COVID-19 may be unprecedented. These disruptions early in life, when the brain is more sensitive to environmental changes, can be long-lasting. Although there is evidence about the effects of school closures on older children, there is currently no evidence on such losses for children in their early years. This paper is among the first to quantify the actual impact of pandemic-related closures on child development, in this case for a sample of young children in Chile, where school and childcare closures lasted for about a year. We use a unique dataset collected face-to-face in December 2020, which includes child development indicators for general development, language development, social-emotional development, and executive function. We are able to use a first difference strategy because Chile has a history of collecting longitudinal data on children as part of their national social policies monitoring strategy. This allows us to construct a valid comparison group from the 2017 longitudinal data. We find adverse impacts on children in 2020 compared to children interviewed in 2017 in most development areas. In particular, nine months after the start of the pandemic, we find a loss in language development of 0.25 SDs. This is equivalent to the impact on a child’s language development of having a mother with approximately five years less education. Timely policies are needed to mitigate these enormous losses.

Autores: Alejandra Abufhele, David Bravo, Florencia López Bóo y Pamela Soto-Ramirez

Organizan: Departamento de Economía, Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas y Revista Económica

Contacto: iie@econo.unlp.edu.ar

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