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

Listed author(s):
  • 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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File URL: https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2012/paper_128.pdf
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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
Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:128
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/
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  1. Meta Brown & John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri, 2009. "A New Test of Borrowing Constraints for Education," NBER Working Papers 14879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gordon B. Dahl & Lance Lochner, 2012. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 1927-1956, August.
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  4. Kevin Milligan & Mark Stabile, 2010. "Do child tax benefits affect the wellbeing of children? evidence from Canadian child benefit expansions," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58059, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Diego Restuccia & Carlos Urrutia, 2002. "Intergenerational Persistence of Earnings: The Role of Early and College Education," University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute Working Papers 20024, University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute.
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  8. 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.
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  12. Lance J. Lochner & Alexander Monge-Naranjo, 2011. "The Nature of Credit Constraints and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2487-2529, October.
  13. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993. "Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving," Working Papers 502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Susanne Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 15664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Løken, Katrine Vellesen, 2007. "Family income and children's education: Using the Norwegian oil boom as a natural experiment," Working Papers in Economics 03/07, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 257-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Daniela Del Boca & Christopher Flinn & Matthew Wiswall, 2010. "Household Choices and Child Development," Working Papers 2011-039, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
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  25. Orazio Attanasio & Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Ekaterini Kyriazidou, 2000. "Credit Constraints in the Market for Consumer Durables: Evidence from Micro Data on Car Loans," NBER Working Papers 7694, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. 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.
  27. James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "General Equilibrium Treatment Effects: A Study of Tuition Policy," NBER Working Papers 6426, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
  29. Heckman, James J. & Moon, Seong Hyeok & Pinto, Rodrigo & Savelyev, Peter A. & Yavitz, Adam, 2010. "The rate of return to the HighScope Perry Preschool Program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 114-128, February.
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  32. 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 818-834, August.
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