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Children’s Schooling and Parents’ Investment in Children: Evidence from the Head Start Impact Study

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  • Alexander M. Gelber
  • Adam Isen

Abstract

Parents may have important effects on their children, but little work in economics explores whether children's schooling opportunities crowd out or encourage parents' investment in children. We analyze data from the Head Start Impact Study, which granted randomly-chosen preschool-aged children the opportunity to attend Head Start. We find that Head Start causes a substantial increase in parents' involvement with their children—such as time spent reading to children, math activities, or days spent with children by fathers who do not live with their children—both during and after the period when their children are potentially enrolled in Head Start. We discuss a variety of mechanisms that are consistent with our findings, including a simple model we present in which Head Start impacts parent involvement in part because parents perceive their involvement to be complementary with child schooling in the production of child qualities.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17704.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Publication status: published as “Children’s Schooling and Parents’ Behavior: Evidence from the Head Start Impact Study,” with Adam Isen, Journal of Public Economics 2013, 101, 25-38.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17704

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  1. Das, Jishnu & Dercon, Stefan & Habyarimana, James & Krishnan, Pramila & Muralidharan, Karthik & Sundararaman, Venkatesh, 2011. "School inputs, household substitution, and test scores," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5629, The World Bank.
  2. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, May.
  3. David Deming, 2009. "Early Childhood Intervention and Life-Cycle Skill Development: Evidence from Head Start," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 111-34, July.
  4. Susan Dynarski & Joshua M. Hyman & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2011. "Experimental Evidence on the Effect of Childhood Investments on Postsecondary Attainment and Degree Completion," NBER Working Papers 17533, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Marianne Bertrand & Jessica Pan, 2013. "The Trouble with Boys: Social Influences and the Gender Gap in Disruptive Behavior," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 32-64, January.
  6. Katherine A. Magnuson & Christopher J. Ruhm & Jane Waldfogel, 2004. "Does Prekindergarten Improve School Preparation and Performance?," NBER Working Papers 10452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Chloe Gibbs & Jens Ludwig & Douglas L. Miller, 2011. "Does Head Start Do Any Lasting Good?," NBER Working Papers 17452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J., 2010. "Investing in Our Young People," IZA Discussion Papers 5050, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. David S. Lee, 2009. "Training, Wages, and Sample Selection: Estimating Sharp Bounds on Treatment Effects," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 1071-1102.
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Cited by:
  1. Pfeiffer, Friedhelm & Blomeyer, Dorothea & Coneus, Katja & Laucht, Manfred, 2013. "Early life adversity and children's competence development: evidence from the Mannheim Study of Children at Risk," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79893, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  2. Blomeyer, Dorothea & Coneus, Katja & Laucht, Manfred & Pfeiffer, Friedhelm, 2013. "Early Life Adversity and Children's Competence Development: Evidence from the Mannheim Study of Children at Risk," IZA Discussion Papers 7216, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Kottelenberg, Michael J. & Lehrer, Steven F., 2014. "Do the Perils of Universal Child Care Depend on the Child's Age?," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2014-14, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 26 Mar 2014.
  4. Douglas Almond & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2013. "Fetal Origins and Parental Responses," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 37-56, 05.

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