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It’s All in the Stars: The Chinese Zodiac and the Effects of Parental Investments on Offspring’s Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Development

Author

Listed:
  • Chih Ming Tan

    () (Department of Economics, University of North Dakota, USA; Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis)

  • Xiao Wang

    () (International Institute of Finance, University of Science and Technology of China, China)

  • Xiaobo Zhang

    () (National School of Development, Peking University, China; International Food Policy Research Institute, USA)

Abstract

The importance of (early) parental investments in children’s cognitive and noncognitive outcomes is a question of deep policy significance. However, because parental investments are arguably endogenous, empirically estimating their importance poses a challenge. This paper exploits a rich and novel dataset, the China Family Panel Studies, and proposes a culture-specific instrumental variable based on the Chinese zodiac, in order to identify the impact of parental investments. By looking at the outcomes of children born just before and just after the cutoff for a “lucky” (or “nonlucky”) zodiac sign, we find that parents' investments have significant effects on their offspring’s development of both cognitive and noncognitive skills.

Suggested Citation

  • Chih Ming Tan & Xiao Wang & Xiaobo Zhang, 2019. "It’s All in the Stars: The Chinese Zodiac and the Effects of Parental Investments on Offspring’s Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Development," Working Paper series 19-10, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
  • Handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:19-10
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jens Ludwig & Douglas L. Miller, 2007. "Does Head Start Improve Children's Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 159-208.
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    4. Biroli, Pietro & Boneva, Teodora & Raja, Akash & Rauh, Christopher, 2018. "Parental Beliefs about Returns to Child Health Investments," IZA Discussion Papers 11336, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Kirchsteiger, Georg & Sebald, Alexander, 2010. "Investments into education--Doing as the parents did," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 501-516, May.
    6. Silke Anger & Daniel D. Schnitzlein, 2017. "Cognitive skills, non-cognitive skills, and family background: evidence from sibling correlations," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(2), pages 591-620, April.
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    11. Teodora Boneva & Christopher Rauh, 2018. "Parental Beliefs about Returns to Educational Investments—The Later the Better?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 16(6), pages 1669-1711.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cognitive Skills; Noncognitive Skills; Parental Investments; Zodiac Signs; China;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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