David Figlio Presents Child Development Research in Colombia

David Figlio

The School of Education and Social Policy will reach out to a new country when professor David Figlio addresses the International Research Seminar on Educational Quality in Colombia next month. Figlio will discuss his new child development research in a talk in Bogota entitled “The Effects of Poor Neonatal Health on Children's Cognitive Development.”

The talk is based on Figlio’s study of the impact of poor infant health, as indicated by low birth weight. The study finds that effects on adult outcomes are established very early – and that they are essentially constant for children during the school years. Regardless of the quality of school attended, the mother’s education, or the racial and ethnic group, the child’s educational attainment was reduced.

In order to measure the impact of birth weight on cognitive level, the study followed 14,000 Florida twins from birth through middle school. The National Bureau of Economic Research published the working paper about this research that Figlio wrote with fellow researchers SESP associate professor Jon Guryan and colleagues at Uppsala University and University of Florida.

The International Research Seminar on November 7 and 8 is presented by the Colombian Institute for the Promotion of Higher Education and is designed to raise awareness of research on the quality of education. This year’s conference focuses on the themes of the value of higher education, public education policies, preparing students for higher education and the role of teachers in academic achievement.

Figlio is the Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy, director of the Institute for Policy Research, and professor of Human Development and Social Policy at Northwestern University. His research on education and social policy, including influential work on school accountability, standards, welfare policy, and policy design, has been published in numerous leading journals. He has served on numerous national education task forces and panels, and has advised several U.S. states and nations on five continents on the design, implementation and evaluation of education policy.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 10/9/13