A preliminary review of the existing literature investigating ethnic and gender differences in early childhood development

A Scope, S Hartnell

ABSTRACT:

There exist well documented inequalities in earnings by gender, race and ethnicity (Altonji and Blank, 1999). Those disadvantaged groups are usually referred to together as minorities, where the majority is usually ‘White-male’. Empirical research often attributes the lower earnings of minorities to their lower human capital endowments.1 One view is that minorities choose to invest less in human capital due to expected labour market discrimination. An alternative view is that lower human capital acquisition among the minorities could be
determined by pre-labour market factors, such as their adverse socio-economic status (Neal and Johnson, 1996). However, the age at which these ability gaps set in is not clear: one could argue that trajectory of these inequalities is established early on in childhood, and just gets accentuated by the adverse socio-economic status (Carneiro, Heckman and Masterov, 2005). This paper reports on the findings of a preliminary review of the existing literature investigating ethnic and gender differences in early childhood development.