Now showing 1 - 10 of 46
  • Publication
    Measuring the relationship between voter turnout and health in Ireland
    (University College Dublin; School of Economics, 2006-10) ;
    Health issues are an integral part of the political agenda in Ireland. Yet no study to date has examined the direct impact of health concerns on political outcomes. This study investigates the impact of health, both physical and psychological, and perceptions of the health service on voter turnout in Ireland using the European Social Survey in 2005. The results show that individuals with poor subjective health are significantly less likely to vote in a General Election. Dissatisfaction with the health service is also associated with a lower probability of voting. However these effects interact: those with poor health and who are dissatisfied with the health service are more likely to vote. Psychological well-being has no effect on voter turnout. The health effects identified in this study are large. Therefore, given the PR electoral system in Ireland, small changes in voter turnout could have dramatic consequences for electoral outcomes.
  • Publication
    The First 2,000 Days and Child Skills: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment of Home Visiting
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2017-07)
    Using a randomized experiment, this study investigates the impact of sustained investment in parenting, from pregnancy until age five, in the context of extensive welfare provision. Providing the Preparing for Life program, incorporating home visiting, group parenting, and baby massage, to disadvantaged Irish families raises children’s cognitive and socio-emotional/behavioral scores by two-thirds and one-quarter of a standard deviation respectively by school entry. There are few differential effects by gender and stronger gains for firstborns. The results also suggest that socioeconomic gaps in children’s skills are narrowed. Analyses account for small sample size, differential attrition, multiple testing, contamination, and performance bias.
  • Publication
    Early intervention and child health: Evidence from a Dublin-based randomized controlled trial
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2015-04) ; ; ;
    This article investigates the impact of an early intervention program, which experimentally modifies the parenting and home environment of disadvantaged families, on child health in the first 3 years of life. We recruited and randomized 233 (115 intervention, 118 control) pregnant women from a socioeconomically disadvantaged community in Dublin, Ireland into an intervention or control group. The treatment includes regular home visits commencing antenatally and an additional parenting course commencing at 2 years. Maternal reports of child health are assessed at 6, 12, 18, 24, and 36 months. Treatment effects are estimated using permutation testing to account for small sample size, inverse probability weighting to account for differential attrition, and the stepdown procedure to account for multiple hypothesis testing. Following adjustment for multiple testing and attrition, we observe a positive and statistically significant main treatment effect for wheezing/asthma. The intervention group are 15.5 percentage points (pp) less likely to require medical attention for wheezing/asthma compared to the control group. Statistically significant individual main effects which do not survive multiple testing and IPW-adjustment are found for general health (10.0 pp), hospitalizations (8.2 pp), immunizations (8.6 pp), chest infections (12.2 pp) and the number of health problems (d = 0.34). Subgroup analysis reveals more statistically significant adjusted treatment effects for boys than girls regarding fewer health problems (d = 0.63), accidents (23.9 pp), and chest infections (22.8 – 37.9 pp). Our results suggest that a communitybased home visiting program may have favorable impacts on early health conditions. As child ill health is costly to society due to an increased demand on health resources and long-term productivity losses, identifying effective interventions to counteract inequalities in health is important from a policy perspective.
  • Publication
    Political interest, cognitive ability and personality : determinants of voter turnout in Britain (version 1.5)
    (University College Dublin; School of Economics, 2005-06) ;
    This paper uses longitudinal data from the National Cohort Development Study (NCDS) to investigate the determinants of voter turnout in the 1997 British General Election. It introduces measures of cognitive ability and personality into models of electoral participation and finds that firstly, their inclusion reduces the impact of education and secondly, that standard turnout models may be biased by the inclusion of the much used “interest in politics” measure. A bivariate probit model of turnout and interest then shows that individuals with high ability, an aggressive personality and a sense of civic duty are more likely to both turn out to vote and to have an interest in politics.
  • Publication
    Early childhood intervention : rationale, timing, and efficacy
    (University College Dublin, Geary Institute, 2007-01) ; ; ;
    This paper provides a brief review of the economic rationale for investing in early childhood. It discusses the optimal timing of intervention, with reference to recent work in developmental neuroscience, and asks how early is early? It motivates the need for early intervention by providing an overview of the impact of adverse factors during the antenatal and early childhood period on outcomes later in life. Early childhood interventions, even poorly designed ones, are costly to implement, therefore it is vital that interventions are well-designed if they are to yield high economic and social returns. The paper therefore presents a set of guiding principles for the effectiveness of early intervention. It concludes by presenting a case for a new study of the optimal timing of interventions.
  • Publication
    Differential parent and teacher reports of school readiness in a disadvantaged community
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2010-01) ; ;
    Differential ratings by multiple informants are an important issue in survey design. Although much research has focused on differential reports of child behaviour, discrepancies between parent and teacher reports of children’s school readiness are less explored.
  • Publication
    Can Early Intervention have a Sustained Effect on Human Capital?
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2020-04)
    Evidence on the sustained effect of early intervention is inconclusive, with many studies experiencing a dissolution of treatment effects once the program ends. Using a randomized trial, this paper examines the impact of Preparing for Life (PFL), a pregnancy to age five home visiting and parenting program, on outcomes in middle childhood. We find little evidence of cognitive fade-out at age nine, with significant treatment effects on cognitive skills (0.67SD) and school achievement tests (0.47-0.74SD) that are of a similar magnitude to those observed at the end of the program. There is no impact on other school outcomes and earlier effects for socio-emotional skills are no longer evident. While about 50 percent of the sample is retained at age nine, the treatment groups are still balanced on all key baseline characteristics and the results are robust to inverse probability weighting. Mediation analysis suggests that ~46 percent of the treatment effect on cognitive skills is explained by improvements in early parental investment. This study demonstrates that boosting children’s early cognitive skills can reduce school-age inequalities five years after program completion, yet continued investment may be needed to break long-standing inequalities in other dimensions of skills.
  • Publication
    Report on children's profile at school entry 2008-2009 : evaluation of the 'Preparing For Life' early childhood intervention programme
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2009-06) ; ; ; ;
    The Children's Profile at School Entry (CPSE) was conducted by the UCD Geary Institute who have been commissioned by the Northside Partnership to assess the levels of school readiness in a designated disadvantaged community of Ireland, as part of an overall evaluation of the Preparing for Life (PFL) early childhood intervention programme.
  • Publication
    Does voting history matter : analysing persistence in turnout
    (University College Dublin; Geary Institute, 2005-12-01) ;
    Individuals who vote in one election are also more likely to vote in the next. Modelling the causal relationship between consecutive voting decisions however is intrinsically difficult, as this positive association can exist due to unobserved heterogeneity (i.e. some fixed, but unobserved, characteristics makes voters consistently turn out to vote) or habit formation (i.e. past turnout decisions influence subsequent turnout decisions). This paper overcomes this problem using longitudinal data from the British National Child Development Study (NCDS) to examine voting behaviour across three elections. Utilising techniques developed in the econometrics literature we find that failing to control for unobserved heterogeneity overestimates the extent of habit formation by almost 100%. Estimating a dynamic model of voter turnout, allowing for unobserved heterogeneity, implies that voting in one election increases the probability of voting in the next by about 13%. This figure is far less than previous studies have identified.
  • Publication
    Did political constraints bind during transition? Evidence from Czech elections 1990-2002
    (Institute for the Study of Labor, 2005-08) ;
    Many theoretical models of transition are driven by the assumption that economic decision making is subject to political constraints. In this paper we empirically test whether the winners and losers of economic reform determined voting behaviour in the first five national elections in the Czech Republic. We propose that voters, taking stock of endowments from the planning era, could predict whether they would become "winners" or "losers" of transition. Using survey data we measure the percentage of individuals by region who were "afraid" and "not afraid" of economic reform in 1990. We define the former as potential "winners" who should vote for pro-reform parties, while latter are potential "losers" who should support leftwing parties. Using national election results and regional economic indicators, we demonstrate that there is persistence in support for pro-reform and communist parties driven by prospective voting based on initial conditions in 1990. As a result, we show that regional unemployment rates in 2002 are good predictors of regional voting patterns in 1990.