Natalia Valdebenito-Contreras

Natalia Valdebenito-Contreras

PhD Candidate

Department of Social Policy

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Key Expertise
Inequality, Early childhood, Social inclusion, Policy design, Development

About me

Research topic:

Inequalities in child development: evidence from the Chilean context  

Natalia is a PhD student funded by the Chilean National Scholarship Program for Graduate Studies - ANID. She holds a degree in Economics and a Master’s in Economic Analysis, both from the University of Chile. Her PhD research focuses on exploiting evidence regarding inequalities in child development, specifically examining the role of parental factors, family socioeconomic background and policy changes.

Prior to starting her PhD, Natalia worked as a research assistant at the Centre for Early Childhood Studies (CEPI) in Chile, mainly contributing to the study “Evaluation of the implementation and validity of the national plan of action for children and adolescents”.  Additionally, she has also worked as an economic consultant at The World Bank, where she engaged with different datasets to understand developmental disparities at both the country and city levels, with a focus on education and employment indicators. Before this, in her previous role at the National Account Synthesis Department of the Central Bank of Chile, Natalia worked on the development of the first series to be published of Chile’s quarterly regional GDP, a major innovation in the frequency of availability of regional statistical data, previously only published on an annual basis. In terms of teaching experience, Natalia has instructed courses such as “Introduction to data analysis with R” and “Intermediate data analysis with R” at the Microdata Research Centre of the University of Chile.

Research interests 

Her academic research interests center on inequality, early childhood, social inclusion, policy design and development. In her master thesis, titled “Socioeconomic gradients in child development: evidence from a Chilean longitudinal study 2010-2017”, later published in the journal Advances in Life Course Research, she studied variations in the development of cognitive and socio-emotional skills among children from diverse socio-economic backgrounds and estimated how much of this wealth gap is explained by different mediators, mainly associated with maternal, biomedical, school and household indicators.

Supervisors: Professor Lucinda Platt and Dr Iva Tasseva

Expertise Details

Inequality; Early childhood; Social inclusion; Policy design; Development