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The Dispersion of Intra-Household Human Capital Across Children: A Measurement Strategy and Evidence

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  • Andrew W. Horowitz

    () (Department of Economics, Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkandas and Fundacao Getulio Vargas, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

  • Andre Portela Souza

    () (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University, Department of Economics and University of Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Abstract

Human capital accumulation has long been recognized as critical to economic growth and development. In recent years focus on the intra-household distribution of human capital has intensified both theoretically and empirically. However, connecting the theoretical and empirical literature has been impeded by the difficulty in measuring human intra-household capital levels � particularly for children in the midst of the accumulation process. In this paper we approach this issue using the intra-household dispersion of the rate of progress through the education system as a proxy for the final dispersion of intra-household human capital. Focusing on intra-household dispersion avoids many of the problematic issues associated with measures of human capital levels. Using Brazilian data we identify a previously unreported relationship between the intra-household dispersion of this observable human capital (OHK) and household income. We explore various explanations and implications of this pattern, and argue that this relationship is consistent with the inefficient distribution of intra-household human capital suggested by recent theoretical work.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew W. Horowitz & Andre Portela Souza, 2004. "The Dispersion of Intra-Household Human Capital Across Children: A Measurement Strategy and Evidence," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0408, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0408
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kaushik Basu, 1999. "Child Labor: Cause, Consequence, and Cure, with Remarks on International Labor Standards," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1083-1119, September.
    2. Kaushik Basu & Zafiris Tzannatos, 2003. "The Global Child Labor Problem: What Do We Know and What Can We Do?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(2), pages 147-173, December.
    3. Emerson, Patrick M. & Souza, André Portela, 2008. "Birth Order, Child Labor, and School Attendance in Brazil," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 1647-1664, September.
    4. Jean-Marie Baland & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Is Child Labor Inefficient?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 663-679, August.
    5. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 2000. "Does Child Labour Displace Schooling? Evidence on Behavioural Responses to an Enrollment Subsidy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages 158-175, March.
    6. Ricardo Barros & David Lam, 2015. "Income Inequality in Education, and Children's Schooling Attainment in Brazil," Discussion Papers 0041, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
    7. Bedi, Arjun S. & Marshall, Jeffery H., 2002. "Primary school attendance in Honduras," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 129-153, October.
    8. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew W. Horowitz & Andre Portela Souza, 2004. "Inequality in Child Academic Achievement in Single Parent Households: Evidence from Brazil," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0425, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    2. Emerson, Patrick M. & Souza, André Portela, 2008. "Birth Order, Child Labor, and School Attendance in Brazil," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 1647-1664, September.
    3. Marcio Gold Firmo & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2011. "Uma Análise Da Transmissãointergeracional De Capital Humano No Brasil," Anais do XXXVIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 38th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 228, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Human Capital; School Progression; Intra-Household Allocation;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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