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Evaluating the Early Child Development Program in the Philippines


Presentation:  Evaluating the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Program in the Philippines (316kb PPT)

Tuesday, April 5, 2005
12:30 - 2:00 pm
Room: MC9-401

Chair: Paul Gertler, Chief Economist, Human Development Network
Presenters: Jere Behrman, Sharon Ghuman, Socorro Gultiano, Elizabeth King

Increasing attention and resources have been devoted in recent years to early child development (ECD) in low to middle income countries. Rigorous studies on the effectiveness of ECD-related programs for improving children’s cognitive skills and nutritional status in the developing world are scant.  The researchers evaluated an important ECD initiative of the Philippine government using longitudinal data collected over three years on a cohort of 6,693 children age 0-4 at baseline in two “treatment” regions that received the ECD program and a “control” region that did not receive the intervention. The main method used to estimate the program impact is to match children in the treatment and control regions with respect to a variety of observed characteristics measured at the municipality, barangay, household, and child level, and to then estimate the relative change in ECD across time in treatment compared to control regions (i.e. the “difference-in-difference” estimator).  The results indicate that there has been a significant improvement in weight-for-height Z scores among children age 5 and above in the third survey round (age 3 and above at baseline). They also find evidence of substantial increases in cognitive, social, and motor development scores for children age 3 and below who reside in ECD program areas relative to those who do not. Finally, there is evidence of an important decline in the proportion of children below age 4 with worms in program compared to non-program areas. 

Jere R. Behrman (PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1966) is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Economics and Director of the Population Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has been on the faculty since 1965.  His research interests are in empirical micro economics, economic development, labor economics, human resources, economic demography and household behaviors.  He has published over 230 professional articles and 30 books and monographs on these topics.  He has worked as a research consultant with numerous national and international organizations, including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank.  He has been the principal investigator co-principal investigator on over 40 research projects funded by organizations including the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation.  He has lectured widely in the U.S. and internationally and has been involved in professional research or lecturing activities in over 40 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Sharon Ghuman (PhD, University of Pennsylvania 2002) is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Population Studies Center of the University of Michigan. Her research interests are the correlates of health and human capital accumulation among children and adolescents in low and middle income countries, evaluating programs that aim to ameliorate poverty and ill health, the role of school and health service provider quality in determining health and schooling outcomes, trends in and measurement of sexual behavior in Vietnam, and the interrelations between gender, poverty, health, demographic change, and economic/social support for the elderly in South Asian countries. She has been involved in the Philippines Early Childhood Development (ECD) project for nearly 3 years, where she has worked extensively with the Office of Population Studies in Cebu on the presentation of study findings and reports for government and NGO representatives.

Socorro Gultiano (PhD Demography, Australian National University 2000) is a Senior Research Associate of the Office of Population Studies and an Associate Professor of the Sociology-Anthropology Department of the University of San Carlos in Cebu City, Philippines. She received various trainings at the University of the Philippines School of Economics, the East-West Center Population Institute, and the Carolina Population Center of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since the 1980s she has been involved in the conduct of longitudinal studies: first, in the evaluation of key child survival activities of the Philippine government in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University; secondly, on the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Study in collaboration with the Carolina Population Center; and most recently, on the longitudinal evaluation study of the Philippine Early Childhood Development Project in collaboration with the Philippine government and key investigators from the University of Pennsylvania and the World Bank.

Elizabeth King is the new Research Manager of the Development Research Group (Public Services) of the World Bank, starting late April 2005.  She is currently the Lead Economist for the Human Development Unit in the East Asia and Pacific Region.  She has published widely on the economics of education, including the determinants of schooling, economic returns to education, and the impact of decentralization and privatization reforms of education systems.  On early childhood development, her published work include “The Impact of Early Childhood Nutritional Status on Cognitive Development: Does the Timing of Malnutrition Matter?,” World Bank Economic Review 15 (1, January 2001) (with P. Glewwe); “Early Childhood Nutrition and Academic Achievement: A Longitudinal Analysis,” Journal of Public Economics 81 (2001) (with P. Glewwe and H. Jacoby); and “Family Background, Service Providers and Early Childhood Development in the Philippines: Proxies and Interactions,” Economic Development and Cultural Change, 2005, with the Philippine ECD project impact evaluation team. She holds a B.A. from the University of the Philippines, and a Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University.

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