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Parental investment responses to a low birth weight outcome: who compensates and who reinforces?

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  • Brandon J. Restrepo

    (US Food and Drug Administration)

Abstract

This study analyzes how parental investment responds to a low birth weight (LBW) outcome and finds important differences in investment responses by maternal education. High school dropouts reinforce a LBW outcome by providing less investment in the human capital of their LBW children relative to their normal birth weight children whereas higher educated mothers compensate by investing more in their LBW children. In addition, an increase in the number of LBW siblings present in the home raises investment in a child, which is consistent with reinforcement, but this positive effect tends to be concentrated among high school dropouts. These results suggest that studies analyzing the effects of LBW on child outcomes that do not account for heterogeneity in investment responses to a LBW outcome by maternal education may overestimate effects of LBW on child outcomes for those born to low-educated mothers and underestimate such effects for those born to high-educated mothers.

Suggested Citation

  • Brandon J. Restrepo, 2016. "Parental investment responses to a low birth weight outcome: who compensates and who reinforces?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(4), pages 969-989, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:29:y:2016:i:4:d:10.1007_s00148-016-0590-3
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-016-0590-3
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    2. Peter Savelyev & Benjamin Ward & Bob Krueger & Matthew McGue, 2020. "Health Endowments, Schooling Allocation in the Family, and Longevity: Evidence from US Twins," Working Papers 2020-040, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    3. Kamble, Vaibhav, 2021. "Health Returns to Birth Weight: Evidence from Developing Countries," MPRA Paper 105150, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Choi, Jin-young & Lee, Myoung-jae, 2019. "Twins are more different than commonly believed, but made less different by compensating behaviors," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 18-31.
    5. Møllegaard, Stine, 2020. "The effect of birth weight on behavioral problems in early adolescence: New evidence from monozygotic twins," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 36(C).
    6. Wei Fan & Catherine Porter, 2020. "Reinforcement or compensation? Parental responses to children’s revealed human capital levels," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 33(1), pages 233-270, January.
    7. Michael Grätz & Florencia Torche, 2016. "Compensation or Reinforcement? The Stratification of Parental Responses to Children’s Early Ability," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(6), pages 1883-1904, December.
    8. Cassandra Robertson & Rourke O’Brien, 2018. "Health Endowment at Birth and Variation in Intergenerational Economic Mobility: Evidence From U.S. County Birth Cohorts," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 55(1), pages 249-269, February.
    9. Nicoletti, Cheti & Tonei, Valentina, 2017. "The Response of Parental Time Investments to the Child's Skills and Health," IZA Discussion Papers 10993, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Jessica Leight & Elaine M. Liu, 2016. "Maternal Education, Parental Investment and Non-Cognitive Skills in Rural China," NBER Working Papers 22233, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Hamid NoghaniBehambari & Farzaneh Noghani & Nahid Tavassoli, 2021. "Early-life Income Shocks and Old-Age Cause-Specific Mortality," Papers 2101.03943, arXiv.org.
    12. McDonough, Ian K. & Millimet, Daniel L., 2017. "Missing data, imputation, and endogeneity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 199(2), pages 141-155.
    13. Abufhele, Alejandra & Behrman, Jere & Bravo, David, 2017. "Parental preferences and allocations of investments in children's learning and health within families," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 194(C), pages 76-86.
    14. Zhang, Yanan, 2021. "The role of socioeconomic status and parental investment in adolescent outcomes," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    15. Nicoletti, Cheti & Tonei, Valentina, 2020. "Do parental time investments react to changes in child’s skills and health?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 127(C).
    16. Savelyev, Peter A. & Ward, Benjamin C. & Krueger, Robert F. & McGue, Matt, 2022. "Health endowments, schooling allocation in the family, and longevity: Evidence from US twins," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).
    17. Jonas Minet Kinge, 2017. "Variation in the relationship between birth weight and subsequent obesity by household income," Health Economics Review, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 1-9, December.
    18. Michael Grätz & Kieron J. Barclay & Øyvind Wiborg & Torkild H. Lyngstad & Aleksi Karhula & Jani Erola & Patrick Präg & Thomas Laidley & Dalton Conley, 2019. "Universal family background effects on education across and within societies," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2019-007, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Parental investment; Human capital; Low birth weight; Education; Income;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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