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Parental Health Events and Children’s Skill Development


  • Morefield, Brant

    () (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics)


This paper examines parents and children in the longitudinal Panel Study of Income Dynamics and PSID-Child Development Supplement to identify how a child's level of skills is affected by the onset of a negative parental health event. I estimate effects for two measures of health events—the diagnosis of one of eleven specific health conditions and an unspecified physical or nervous condition—each of which are reported to limit the activities of the parent. For both measures of health events, the analysis suggests that the onset of a parental health event has, on average, small negative effects on the level of children's noncognitive skills. However, small average effects mask heterogeneous effects across: the sex of the parent, sex of the child, and the type of health condition. Specifically, parental health events are estimated to significantly impair noncognitive skill development when a father is afflicted with a health event, affect sons more negatively than daughters, and are worse for certain—vascular or cancerous—conditions. Further exploration suggests that effects of parental health events on skill investments are driven by the hypothesized mechanism, changes in skill investments. Specifically, when parental health events are estimated to create the poorest behavior outcomes, large reductions in one measure of skill investment, time that parents participate in activities with children, is also commonly found.

Suggested Citation

  • Morefield, Brant, 2010. "Parental Health Events and Children’s Skill Development," UNCG Economics Working Papers 10-11, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:uncgec:2010_011

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    Cited by:

    1. Huong Thu Le & Ha Trong Nguyen, 2015. "Parental health and children’s cognitive and non-cognitive development: New evidence from the Longitudinal Survey of Australian Children," Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre Working Paper series WP1506, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School.
    2. Bratti, Massimiliano & Mendola, Mariapia, 2014. "Parental health and child schooling," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 94-108.
    3. Johnson, Eric & Reynolds, C. Lockwood, 2013. "The effect of household hospitalizations on the educational attainment of youth," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 165-182.
    4. Andrea M. Mühlenweg & Franz G. Westermaier & Brant Morefield, 2016. "Parental health and child behavior: evidence from parental health shocks," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 577-598, September.
    5. Franz Westermaier & Brant Morefield & Andrea Mühlenweg, 2013. "Impacts of Parental Health Shocks on Children’s NonCognitive Skills," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201312, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    6. Kelly Chen & Lars Osberg & Shelley Phipps, 2015. "Inter-generational effects of disability benefits: evidence from Canadian social assistance programs," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(4), pages 873-910, October.
    7. Morefield, Brant & Mühlenweg, Andrea M. & Westermaier, Franz, 2011. "Impacts of parental health on children's development of personality traits and problem behavior: Evidence from parental health shocks," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-049, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    8. Le, Huong & Nguyen, Ha, 2015. "Parental health and children’s cognitive and non-cognitive development: New evidence from the Longitudinal Survey of Australian Children," MPRA Paper 67590, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Massimiliano Bratti & Mendola, M., 2013. "GINI DP 63: Parental Health and Child Schooling!," GINI Discussion Papers 63, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.

    More about this item


    parental health; skills; children;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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