IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Maids or Mentors? The Effects of Live-In Foreign Domestic Workers on School Children's Educational Achievement in Hong Kong


  • Sam Hak Kan Tang

    (Business School, University of Western Australia)

  • Linda Chor Wing Yung

    (Department of Economics, Chinese University of Hong Kong)


This paper studies the effects of live-in foreign domestic workers (FDWs) on children’s educational achievement using samples from two population censuses and a survey dataset. The census data shows that the incidence of express schooling is significantly higher for children who are under the care of an FDW when their mothers are at work. In the survey data, children scored higher for English if they had a Filipino FDW. The age of FDWs had a positive and significant relationship with children’s average scores for Chinese, English and Mathematics. These findings suggest that FDWs provide an important childrearing service, which is often unrecognised and undervalued.

Suggested Citation

  • Sam Hak Kan Tang & Linda Chor Wing Yung, 2012. "Maids or Mentors? The Effects of Live-In Foreign Domestic Workers on School Children's Educational Achievement in Hong Kong," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 12-27, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwa:wpaper:12-27

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Holmstrom, Bengt, 1989. "Agency costs and innovation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 305-327, December.
    2. Philippe Aghion & Nick Bloom & Richard Blundell & Rachel Griffith & Peter Howitt, 2005. "Competition and Innovation: an Inverted-U Relationship," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 701-728.
    3. Xiaowen Tian, 2007. "Accounting for sources of FDI technology spillovers: evidence from China," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 38(1), pages 147-159, January.
    4. Criscuolo, Chiara & Haskel, Jonathan E. & Slaughter, Matthew J., 2010. "Global engagement and the innovation activities of firms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 191-202, March.
    5. Neslihan Ozkan, 2002. "Effects of financial constraints on research and development investment: an empirical investigation," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(11), pages 827-834.
    6. Dobson, Wendy & Safarian, A.E., 2008. "The transition from imitation to innovation: An enquiry into China's evolving institutions and firm capabilities," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 301-311, August.
    7. Hongbin Cai & Qiao Liu, 2009. "Competition and Corporate Tax Avoidance: Evidence from Chinese Industrial Firms," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 764-795, April.
    8. Hu, Albert Guangzhou & Jefferson, Gary H., 2009. "A great wall of patents: What is behind China's recent patent explosion?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 57-68, September.
    9. Girma, Sourafel & Gong, Yundan & Görg, Holger, 2009. "What Determines Innovation Activity in Chinese State-owned Enterprises? The Role of Foreign Direct Investment," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 866-873, April.
    10. Jefferson, Gary & Hu, Albert G. Z. & Guan, Xiaojing & Yu, Xiaoyun, 2003. "Ownership, performance, and innovation in China's large- and medium-size industrial enterprise sector," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 89-113.
    11. Li, Xibao, 2012. "Behind the recent surge of Chinese patenting: An institutional view," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 236-249.
    12. Wendy Dobson & A.E. Safarian, 2008. "Making the Transition from Imitation to Innovation: An Enquiry into China’s Evolving Institutions and Firm Capabilities," Working Papers Series 11, Rotman Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, revised Mar 2008.
    13. Holmström, Bengt, 1989. "Agency Costs and Innovation," Working Paper Series 214, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    14. Valdemar Smith & Anni Lene Broberg & Jesper Overgaard, 2002. "Does Location Matter for Firms' R&D Behaviour? Empirical Evidence for Danish Firms," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(8), pages 825-832.
    15. Xiaming Liu & Chengang Wang & Yingqi Wei, 2009. "Do local manufacturing firms benefit from transactional linkages with multinational enterprises in China?," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 40(7), pages 1113-1130, September.
    16. Can Huang & Celeste Amorim & Joaquim Borges Gouveia & Mark Spinoglio & Augusto Medina, 2004. "Organization, Program and Structure: An Analysis of the Chinese Innovation Policy Framework," Working Papers de Economia (Economics Working Papers) 17, Departamento de Economia, Gestão e Engenharia Industrial, Universidade de Aveiro.
    17. Zhiyuan Li & Miaojie Yu, 2009. "Exports, Productivity, and Credit Constraints: A Firm-Level Empirical Investigation of China," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd09-098, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    18. Patrik Gustavsson Tingvall & Andreas Poldahl, 2006. "Is there really an inverted U-shaped relation between competition and R&D?," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(2), pages 101-118.
    19. Chialin Chang & Stéphane Robin, 2006. "Doing R&D and/or Importing Technologies: The Critical Importance of Firm Size in Taiwan’s Manufacturing Industries," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 29(3), pages 253-278, November.
    20. Liang Xi & Lin Lei & Wu Guisheng, 2009. "Evolution of the Chinese Automobile Industry from a Sectoral System of Innovation Perspective," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4-5), pages 463-478.
    21. Gary Jefferson & Bai Huamao & Guan Xiaojing & Yu Xiaoyun, 2006. "R&D Performance in Chinese industry," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(4-5), pages 345-366.
    22. Klepper, Steven & Simons, Kenneth L, 1997. "Technological Extinctions of Industrial Firms: An Inquiry into Their Nature and Causes," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 379-460, March.
    23. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-564, September.
    24. Furong Jin & Keun Lee & Yee-Kyoung Kim, 2008. "Changing Engines of Growth in China: From Exports, FDI and Marketization to Innovation and Exports," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 16(2), pages 31-49.
    25. Daniel Shefer & Amnon Frenkel, 1998. "original: Local milieu and innovations: Some empirical results," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 32(1), pages 185-200.
    26. Kuo, Chun-Chien & Yang, Chih-Hai, 2008. "Knowledge capital and spillover on regional economic growth: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 594-604, December.
    27. Alice Shiu, 2002. "Efficiency of Chinese Enterprises," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 255-267, November.
    28. Yanrui Wu, 2012. "Trends and Prospects in China's R&D Sector," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 12-16, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    29. Albert G. Z. Hu & Gary H. Jefferson & Qian Jinchang, 2005. "R&D and Technology Transfer: Firm-Level Evidence from Chinese Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 780-786, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:uwa:wpaper:12-27. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Verity Chia). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.