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Maternal Education, Parental Investment and Non-Cognitive Characteristics in Rural China

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  • Leight, Jessica

    () (American University)

  • Liu, Elaine M.

    () (University of Houston)

Abstract

The importance of non-cognitive skills in determining long-term human capital and labor market outcomes is widely acknowledged, but relatively little is known about how educational investments by parents may respond to children’s non-cognitive characteristics. This paper evaluates the parental response to non-cognitive variation across siblings in rural Gansu province, China, employing a household fixed effects specification; the non-cognitive measures of interest are defined as the inverse of both externalizing challenges (behavioral problems and aggression) and internalizing challenges (anxiety and withdrawal). The results suggest that there is significant heterogeneity with respect to maternal education. More educated mothers appear to compensate for differences between their children, investing more in a child who exhibits greater non-cognitive deficits, while less educated mothers reinforce these differences. Most importantly, there is evidence that these compensatory investments are associated with the narrowing of non-cognitive deficits over time for children of more educated mothers, while there is no comparable pattern in households with less educated mothers.

Suggested Citation

  • Leight, Jessica & Liu, Elaine M., 2018. "Maternal Education, Parental Investment and Non-Cognitive Characteristics in Rural China," IZA Discussion Papers 11607, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11607
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Cui, Ying & Liu, Hong & Zhao, Liqiu, 2019. "Mother's education and child development: Evidence from the compulsory school reform in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 669-692.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    non-cognitive characteristics; parental investment; intrahousehold allocation;

    JEL classification:

    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation

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