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The Impact of Child Health and Family Inputs on Child Cognitive Develop-ment


  • Robert Kaestner
  • Hope Corman


In this paper we extensively analyze the impact of child health and other family characteristics on the cognitive achievement of children between the ages of five and nine. We estimate both cross sectional and fixed effects models using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Several of our results challenge the conclusions found in the existing literature. First, we find only a weak relationship between several measures of child health and child cognitive development. Second, we find that additional maternal schooling does not improve child cognitive achievement. Finally, our estimates of the effect of mother's labor force participation suggest that working has a positive impact on child cognitive achievement.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Kaestner & Hope Corman, 1995. "The Impact of Child Health and Family Inputs on Child Cognitive Develop-ment," NBER Working Papers 5257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5257
    Note: HE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Olsen, Randall J & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1983. "The Impact of Exogenous Child Mortality on Fertility: A Waiting Time Regression with Dynamic Regressors," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(3), pages 731-749, May.
    2. Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 279-288, Part II, .
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    4. M. Anne Hill & June O'Neill, 1994. "Family Endowments and the Achievement of Young Children with Special Reference to the Underclass," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(4), pages 1064-1100.
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    6. Sonalde Desai & P. L. Chase-Lansdale & Robert Michael, "undated". "Mother or Market? Effects of Maternal Employment on Cognitive Development of Four-year-old Children," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 88-11, Chicago - Population Research Center.
    7. Linda Datcher-Loury, 1989. "Family Background and School Achievement among Low Income Blacks," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(3), pages 528-544.
    8. Arleen Leibowitz, 1977. "Parental Inputs and Children's Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 12(2), pages 242-251.
    9. Hanushek, Eric A, 1992. "The Trade-Off between Child Quantity and Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 84-117, February.
    10. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-1177, September.
    11. Robert A. Shakotko & Linda N. Edwards & Michael Grossman, 1980. "An Exploration of the Dynamic Relationship between Health and Cognitive Development in Adolescence," NBER Working Papers 0454, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Mark R. Rosenzweig & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1988. "Heterogeneity, Intrafamily Distribution, and Child Health," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(4), pages 437-461.
    13. Blau, Francine D & Grossberg, Adam J, 1992. "Maternal Labor Supply and Children's Cognitive Development," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 474-481, August.
    14. Linda N. Edwards & Michael Grossman, 1980. "The Relationship Between Children's Health and Intellectual Development," NBER Working Papers 0213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    16. Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1986. "Birth Spacing and Sibling Inequality: Asymmetric Information within the Family," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(1), pages 55-76, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Salm, Martin & Schunk, Daniel, 2008. "The Role of Childhood Health for the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital: Evidence from Administrative Data," IZA Discussion Papers 3646, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Grant Johnston, 2004. "Healthy, wealthy and wise? A review of the wider benefits of education," Treasury Working Paper Series 04/04, New Zealand Treasury.
    3. Margot Jackson, 2009. "Understanding links between adolescent health and educational attainment," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 46(4), pages 671-694, November.
    4. Juho Härkönen & Hande Kaymakçalan & Pirjo Mäki & Anja Taanila, 2012. "Prenatal Health, Educational Attainment, and Intergenerational Inequality: The Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 Study," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(2), pages 525-552, May.
    5. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3309-3416 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Morrill, Melinda Sandler, 2011. "The effects of maternal employment on the health of school-age children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 240-257, March.
    7. Kaestner, Robert & Grossman, Michael, 2009. "Effects of weight on children's educational achievement," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 651-661, December.
    8. Andrew Sharpe & Alexander Murray, 2011. "State of the Evidence on Health as a Determinant of Productivity," CSLS Research Reports 2011-04, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
    9. Nancy E. Reichman & Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan & Dhaval Dave, 2009. "Infant health production functions: what a difference the data make," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(7), pages 761-782.
    10. Rachel Gordon & Robert Kaestner & Sanders Korenman, 2007. "The effects of maternal employment on child injuries and infectious disease," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 44(2), pages 307-333, May.

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