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Understanding the SES Gradient in Early Child Development: Maternal Work, Home Learning, and Child Care Decisions

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  • Emilia Del Bono
  • Marco Francesconi
  • Yvonne Kelly
  • Amanda Sacker

    ()

Abstract

This paper examines the impacts of family inputs - i.e., maternal employment, child care and home learning - on the early development of British children. Using rich longitudinal data from the UK Millennium Cohort Study we estimate cognitive and non-cognitive achievement production functions that allow outcomes to depend on the history of family inputs and unobserved child endowments. We find evidence of small effects on early child outcomes of all the family inputs under consideration. Nonetheless, according to some models, family inputs are found to reduce socio-economic status inequalities in early child development quite substantially, while according to other models they are found to magnify them. Attempting to equalize child outcomes through early policy interventions that generically affect family inputs may therefore prove difficult.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Essex, Department of Economics in its series Economics Discussion Papers with number 726.

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Date of creation: 22 Apr 2013
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Handle: RePEc:esx:essedp:726

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  1. Andrabi, Tahir & Das, Jishnu & Khwaja, Asim Ijaz & Zajonc, Tristan, 2009. "Do value-added estimates add value ? accounting for learning dynamics," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5066, The World Bank.
  2. Havnes, Tarjei & Mogstad, Magne, 2010. "Is Universal Child Care Leveling the Playing Field? Evidence from Non-Linear Difference-in-Differences," IZA Discussion Papers 4978, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Schennach, Susanne, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 4702, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Daniela Del Boca & Christopher Flinn & Matthew Wiswall, 2014. "Household Choices and Child Development," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 137-185.
  5. Pedro Carneiro & Costas Meghir & Matthias Parey, 2013. "Maternal Education, Home Environments, And The Development Of Children And Adolescents," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11, pages 123-160, 01.
  6. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2004. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  7. Løken, Katrine Vellesen & Mogstad, Magne & Wiswall, Matthew, 2011. "What Linear Estimators Miss: The E ects of Family Income on Child Outcomes," Working Papers in Economics 02/11, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  8. Heckman, James J. & Masterov, Dimitriy V., 2007. "The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children," IZA Discussion Papers 2725, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Tarjei Havnes & Magne Mogstad, 2011. "No Child Left Behind: Subsidized Child Care and Children's Long-Run Outcomes," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 97-129, May.
  10. Janet Currie & Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Mother'S Education And The Intergenerational Transmission Of Human Capital: Evidence From College Openings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1495-1532, November.
  11. Leon Feinstein, 2003. "Inequality in the Early Cognitive Development of British Children in the 1970 Cohort," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(277), pages 73-97, February.
  12. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie, 2011. "Killing Me Softly: The Fetal Origins Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 153-72, Summer.
  13. Bernal, Raquel & Keane, Michael P., 2010. "Quasi-structural estimation of a model of childcare choices and child cognitive ability production," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 164-189, May.
  14. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
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