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The Selectivity of Fertility and the Determinants of Human Capital Investments: Parametric and Semi-Parametric Estimates

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  • Pitt, Mark M.
  • Rosenzweig, Mark R.

Abstract

In this paper we assess the importance of heterogeneity and selective fertility in altering estimates and interpretations of the determinants of the human capital of children. We set out a sequential model of human capital investments in children incorporating endogenous fertility and heterogeneity in human capital endowments to illustrate the fertility selection problem and issues of identification. Empirical results based on parametric and semi-parametric estimates of selectivity models applied to data on birthweight and schooling in Malaysia indicate that the hypothesis of no fertility selection is strongly rejected, with mothers having higher birthweight children tending to have substantially lower birth probabilities (negative birth selectivity). As a consequence, the positive association between mother's schooling and birthweight is substantially underestimated and the positive effects of delaying childbearing overestimated when birth selectivity is not taken into account. The schooling results indicate strong rejection of the "efficient schooling" model, in which schooling is allocated efficiently across children, but only when the selectivity of fertility is taken into account.

Suggested Citation

  • Pitt, Mark M. & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 1989. "The Selectivity of Fertility and the Determinants of Human Capital Investments: Parametric and Semi-Parametric Estimates," Bulletins 7511, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:umedbu:7511
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Grossman, Michael & Joyce, Theodore J, 1990. "Unobservables, Pregnancy Resolutions, and Birth Weight Production Functions in New York City," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 983-1007, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Harold Alderman & John Hoddinott & Bill Kinsey, 2006. "Long term consequences of early childhood malnutrition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(3), pages 450-474, July.
    2. Maitra, Pushkar & Pal, Sarmistha, 2008. "Birth spacing, fertility selection and child survival: Analysis using a correlated hazard model," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 690-705, May.
    3. Hoddinott, John & Maluccio, John & Behrman, Jere R. & Martorell, Reynaldo & Melgar, Paul & Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Ramirez-Zea, Manuel & Stein, Aryeh D. & Yount, Kathryn M., 2011. "The consequences of early childhood growth failure over the life course:," IFPRI discussion papers 1073, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. John A. Maluccio, & John Hoddinott & Jere R. Behrman & Reynaldo Martorell & Agnes R. Quisumbing & Aryeh D. Stein, 2003. "The Impact of Nutrition during Early Childhood on Education among Guatemalan Adults," PIER Working Paper Archive 06-026, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Aug 2006.
    5. Andrew D. Foster, 1994. "Program Effects and the Allocation of Resources within the Household," Home Pages _081, University of Pennsylvania.

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    Keywords

    Labor and Human Capital;

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