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Is care by grandparents or parents better for children's non-cognitive skills? Evidence on locus of control from China

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  • Ao, Xiang
  • Chen, Xuan
  • Zhao, Zhong

Abstract

This study investigates the effect of grandparental involvement in childcare on children's locus of control (LOC), which is an important non-cognitive skill that affects children's future development. We use data from the China Family Panel Studies, which is a nationally representative survey, and employ instrumental variables to address the endogeneity of family childcare choice. We find that children with grandparental care have more external LOC than children in the sole care of their parents do; that is, they are more likely to attribute individual success to external factors, such as luck, fate, and family background. This finding is robust to different measures of grandparental involvement in childcare and different model specifications, as well as a minor violation of the exclusion restriction of the instruments. We further examine the potential mechanisms underlying this effect. Grandparents have more external LOC than parents do, which can affect children's LOC through intergenerational transmission of LOC. Their parenting attitudes and styles are also different from parents' in that grandparents take less responsibility for children's academic performance than parents do and are less strict with children. In addition, grandparental care induces adverse effects on children's family environment.

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  • Ao, Xiang & Chen, Xuan & Zhao, Zhong, 2022. "Is care by grandparents or parents better for children's non-cognitive skills? Evidence on locus of control from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:71:y:2022:i:c:s1043951x21001528
    DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2021.101734
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    Cited by:

    1. Bai, Yu & Emmers, Dorien & Li, Ying & Tang, Lei, 2022. "Parental locus of control and early childhood development: Evidence on parent and grandparent caregivers in rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    2. Mara Barschkett & C. Katharina Spieß & Elena Ziege, 2021. "Does Grandparenting Pay off for the Next Generations? Intergenerational Effects of Grandparental Care," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1975, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Mara Barschkett & C. Katharina Spiess & Elena Ziege, 2021. "Does Grandparenting Pay off for the Next Generations? Intergenerational Effects of Grandparental Care," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1152, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    4. Mara Barschkett & C. Katharina Spieß & Elena Ziege, 2021. "Does Grandparenting Pay off for the Next Generations? Intergenerational Effects of Grandparental Care," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1975, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

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    Keywords

    Intergenerational childcare; Non-cognitive skill; Locus of control; China family panel studies;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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