Nuffield Foundation grant-holder Orazio P. Attanasio awarded the 2016 Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize

07 December 2016

Nuffield Foundation grant-holder Orazio P. Attanasio of University College London (UCL) has been awarded the 2016 Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize in recognition of his ground-breaking achievements in child and youth development. 

Professor Orazio P. Attanasio, Head of the Department of Economics at University College London (UCL) and Research Director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies at London, has pushed research frontiers by using economic models in combination with field experiments to assess and shape health and education policies in early childhood development in low-income and middle-income settings.

“Investment” of parents is crucial

Inspired by a home-visiting program in Jamaica, Prof. Attanasio and his team designed a stimulation and nutrition program delivered through home visits for communities in 96 Colombian towns, including the largest evaluation of a program of this kind. After 18 months the children in this program had significantly higher cognition and language skills. The research team could show that the developmental improvements were due to the parents “investing” in more time with their children (important for socio-economic skills) and in stimulating materials such as toys and books (important for cognitive development).

With the Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize money, Attanasio will implement and evaluate an intervention in rural India to provide children with better quality childcare in different settings and for different age groups. This will generate new evidence on the interaction of early interventions at home and center-based interventions for older children.

Watch the exclusive interview with Professor Attanasio on the Blog on Learning and Development (BOLD).

The importance of parental beliefs

Professor Attanasio is working with Dr Teodora Boneva (also from UCL), and Dr Christopher Rauh (University of Cambridge) on a project funded by the Nuffield Foundation that aims to identify which parental interventions are most effective in promoting parental investments and child outcomes