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Early and Late Human Capital Investments, Borrowing Constraints, and the Family

  • Lance Lochner

    (University of Western Ontario)

  • Elizabeth Caucutt

    (University of Western Ontario)

This paper investigates the importance of family borrowing constraints in determining human capital investments in children at early and late ages. We begin by providing new empirical evidence that suggests binding borrowing constraints among at least some families with young children. Next, we develop an intergenerational model of lifecycle human capital accumulation to study the role of early versus late investments in children. We analytically show that when early and late investments are sufficiently complementary in the production of human capital, binding borrowing constraints during either period reduce both early and late investments. We use data from the Children of the NLSY, NLSY, and CPS to calibrate our dynastic model. Our calibrated steady state suggests that about 40% of young parents and 30% of old parents are borrowing constrained, while older children are unconstrained. We also find strong complementarity between early and late investments, suggesting that policies targeted to one stage of development tend to have similar effects on investment in the other stage. We use this calibrated model to study the effects of education subsidies, loans and transfers offered at different ages on early and late human capital investments and subsequent earnings in the short-run and long-run.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2012 Meeting Papers with number 128.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:128
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  1. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2007. "The Production of Cognitive Achievement in Children: Home, School, and Racial Test Score Gaps," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 91-136.
  2. Brant Abbott & Giovanni Gallipoli & Costas Meghir & Gianluca Violante, 2013. "Education policy and intergenerational transfers in equilibrium," IFS Working Papers W13/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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  4. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman, 2002. "The Evidence on Credit Constraints in Post--secondary Schooling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 705-734, October.
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  6. James J. Heckman & Seong Hyeok Moon & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter A. Savelyev & Adam Yavitz, 2009. "The Rate of Return to the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program," Working Papers 200936, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  7. Melvin Stephens, 2008. "The Consumption Response to Predictable Changes in Discretionary Income: Evidence from the Repayment of Vehicle Loans," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 241-252, May.
  8. Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Lance Lochner, 2005. "Borrowing constraints on families with young children," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 39-48.
  9. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 7271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Susanne Schennach & James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," 2007 Meeting Papers 973, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. Hanushek, Eric & Charles Ka Yui Leung & Kuzey Yilmaz, 2002. "Redistribution through Education and Other Transfer Mechanisms," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 94, Royal Economic Society.
  12. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, . "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 84-10, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  13. Diego Restuccia & Carlos Urrutia, 2002. "Intergenerational Persistence of Earnings: The Role of Early and College Education," Working Papers diegor-02-03, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  14. Lance Lochner & Alexander Monge-Naranjo, 2010. "The Nature of Credit Constraints and Human Capital," Working Papers 2011-024, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  15. Kevin Milligan & Mark Stabile, 2011. "Do Child Tax Benefits Affect the Well-Being of Children? Evidence from Canadian Child Benefit Expansions," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 175-205, August.
  16. Gordon B. Dahl & Lance Lochner, 2010. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20105, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  17. Caucutt, Elizabeth M. & Kumar, Krishna B., 2003. "Higher education subsidies and heterogeneity: a dynamic analysis," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(8), pages 1459-1502, June.
  18. Meghir, Costas & Weber, Guglielmo, 1996. "Intertemporal Nonseparability or Borrowing Restrictions? A Disaggregate Analysis Using a U.S. Consumption Panel," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1151-81, September.
  19. Løken, Katrine Vellesen & Mogstad, Magne & Wiswall, Matthew, 2011. "What Linear Estimators Miss: The E ects of Family Income on Child Outcomes," Working Papers in Economics 02/11, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  20. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 2013. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Working Papers 2013-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  21. Løken, Katrine V., 2010. "Family income and children's education: Using the Norwegian oil boom as a natural experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 118-129, January.
  22. S. Rao Aiyagari & Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri, 1999. "Efficient investment in children," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 132, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  23. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1997. "The Career Decisions of Young Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 473-522, June.
  24. Heckman, James J & Lochner, Lance & Taber, Christopher, 1998. "General-Equilibrium Treatment Effects: A Study of Tuition Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 381-86, May.
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  26. Meta Brown & John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri, 2012. "A New Test of Borrowing Constraints for Education," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 511-538.
  27. Loury, Glenn C, 1981. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Distribution of Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 843-67, June.
  28. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts of American Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 262-333, April.
  29. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 12840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Alessi, R & Michael Devereux & Guglielmo Weber, 1993. "Intertemporal consumption, durables and liquidity constraints: a cohort analysis," IFS Working Papers W93/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  31. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 2001. "The Effect of Parental Transfers and Borrowing Constraints on Educational Attainment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1051-1103, November.
  32. Gianluca Violante & Giovanni Gallipoli & Costas Meghir, 2005. "Education Decisions, Equilibrium Policies and Wages Dispersion," 2005 Meeting Papers 522, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  33. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B, 1992. "Public versus Private Investment in Human Capital Endogenous Growth and Income Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 818-34, August.
  34. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2003. "On The Specification and Estimation of The Production Function for Cognitive Achievement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F3-F33, February.
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