Determinants of early child development in Chile: Health, cognitive and demographic factors
International evidence shows that intervention in the early childhood years has positive effects on individuals’ long-term outcomes. Through the use of an education production function, this article estimates the effect of variables related to health status, cognitive abilities, and demographic factors of Chilean mothers and children on the children's psychomotor development. We use the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey, which provides measures of children's biopsychosocial development through the application of a psychomotor development test (TEPSI) and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (TVIP). In turn, the application of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) test to the mother allows an estimation of the role that her cognitive ability plays in the psychomotor development of the child. The results show that health, cognitive, and demographic variables are important factors in a child's biopsychosocial development. In the general model, the measures of cognitive ability have a greater impact than the other variables and, in all specific models, they are significant. Additionally, demographic variables and those related to the family environment have a greater impact than health variables. The child's attendance at preschool has a positive impact on psychomotor development, as measured by the TEPSI, and is even more important than the mother's employment status.