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Child Health and Schooling Achievement: Association, Causality and Household Allocations

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Child health is widely perceived to affect strongly schooling. But evidence is quite limited because numerous studies based on socioeconomic surveys fail to consider the endogeneity of child health, measurement error, and the impact of unobserved fixed and choice inputs. This paper shows that a priori the resulting biases may be positive or negative depending on which of a number of household allocation behaviors dominate and what is the nature of any unobserved choice inputs in educational production. Then illustrative empirical analysis, using rich data from Ghana, is presented, with the following results: (1) IV estimates based on observed family and community characteristics similar to those used in other studies suggest a downward bias in OLS. (2) Family and community fixed effects estimates suggest that the direction of the bias in standard estimates is upward and that the true effects of the range of observed child health on school success is not significant despite the strong association that leads to the appearance of an effect in standard OLS or IV estimates using family and community variables. (3) The usual assumption that there are no unobserved choice inputs in educational production probably leads to an upward bias in the estimated impact of child health on schooling even if there is good control for the endogeneity of child health and measurement error. (4) Child health also does not significantly affect child cognitive achievement through schooling attainment; consideration of the relations that usually have been used to investigate such a possibility, moreover, suggests that the coefficients that are usually estimated are not coefficients that represent the impact of child health on child schooling. (5) The preferred estimates control for unobserved family and community fixed effects and are robust to other estimation problems, so the standard estimates overstate the impact of child health in the observed range on child schooling success, which should strike a cautionary note about the interpretation of the many production function estimates in the literature, including, but not limited to those that focus on household production.

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Paper provided by University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences in its series CARESS Working Papres with number 97-23.

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Handle: RePEc:wop:pennca:97-23

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Cited by:
  1. Weili Ding & Steven Lehrer & J. Niles Rosenquist & Janet Audrain-McGovern, 2006. "The Impact of Poor Health on Education: New Evidence Using Genetic Markers," Working Papers 1045, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  2. Alderman,Harold & Hoddinott, John & Kinsey, Bill, 2003. "Long-term consequences of early childhood malnutrition," FCND discussion papers 168, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Aturupane, Harsha & Deolalikar, Anil B. & Gunewardena, Dileni, 2008. "The Determinants of Child Weight and Height in Sri Lanka: A Quantile Regression Approach," Working Paper Series RP2008/53, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  4. Moshe Hazan & Hosny Zoabi, 2005. "Does Longevity Cause Growth," GE, Growth, Math methods 0507001, EconWPA.
  5. Sylvain Dessy & Stephane Pallage, 2001. "Why Banning the Worst Forms of Child Labour Would Hurt Poor Countries," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 135, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  6. Vermeersch, Christel & Kremer, Michael, 2005. "Schools meals, educational achievement and school competition: evidence from a randomized evaluation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3523, The World Bank.
  7. Alejandro Ramirez & Gustav Ranis, 1997. "Economic Growth and Human Development," Working Papers 787, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  8. Monazza Aslam, 2003. "The Determinants of Student Achievement in Government and Private Schools in Pakistan," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 42(4), pages 841-876.
  9. Hongbin Li & Pak Wai Liu & Ning Ma & Junsen Zhang, . "Parental Childcare and Children's Educational Attainment: Evidence from China," REAP Papers 22559, Rural Education Action Project at Stanford University.
  10. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1996. "The Effect of Teen Childbearing and Single Parenthood on Childhood Disabilities and Progress in School," NBER Working Papers 5807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. repec:ese:iserwp:2009-01 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Anil B. Deolalikar, 1996. "Child nutritional status and child growth in Kenya: Socioeconomic determinants," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(3), pages 375-393.
  13. Lamichhane, Dirga Kumar & Mangyo, Eiji, 2011. "Water accessibility and child health: Use of the leave-out strategy of instruments," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 1000-1010.
  14. Jere R. Behrman, 1994. "Intra-family Distribution in Developing Countries," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 33(3), pages 253-296.
  15. Gustav Ranis & Frances Stewart, 2001. "Growth and Human Development: Comparative Latin American Experience," Working Papers 826, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.

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