Parental compensatory behaviors and early child health outcomes in Cebu, Philippines
A dynamic optimization model of parents choosing investments in their children's health motivates an empirical model of parents' choices of health inputs for their children and the impacts of these decisions on their children's subsequent health. Estimates of the child health input demand functions and the child health production functions from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey accord with the prediction that optimizing behavior results in higher levels of aggregate child health. Observable parental behaviors respond to the physical developmental status of their children. These parental responses appear to yield large and statistically significant improvements in children's early physiological outcomes. However, because some health inputs choices are not observable, it is impossible to ascertain whether these measured effects are due solely to variations in the observed input choices.
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