IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Child Health and Schooling Achievement: Association, Causality and Household Allocations



Child health is widely perceived to affect strongly schooling. But evidence is quite limited because numerous studies based on socioeconomic surveys fail to consider the endogeneity of child health, measurement error, and the impact of unobserved fixed and choice inputs. This paper shows that a priori the resulting biases may be positive or negative depending on which of a number of household allocation behaviors dominate and what is the nature of any unobserved choice inputs in educational production. Then illustrative empirical analysis, using rich data from Ghana, is presented, with the following results: (1) IV estimates based on observed family and community characteristics similar to those used in other studies suggest a downward bias in OLS. (2) Family and community fixed effects estimates suggest that the direction of the bias in standard estimates is upward and that the true effects of the range of observed child health on school success is not significant despite the strong association that leads to the appearance of an effect in standard OLS or IV estimates using family and community variables. (3) The usual assumption that there are no unobserved choice inputs in educational production probably leads to an upward bias in the estimated impact of child health on schooling even if there is good control for the endogeneity of child health and measurement error. (4) Child health also does not significantly affect child cognitive achievement through schooling attainment; consideration of the relations that usually have been used to investigate such a possibility, moreover, suggests that the coefficients that are usually estimated are not coefficients that represent the impact of child health on child schooling. (5) The preferred estimates control for unobserved family and community fixed effects and are robust to other estimation problems, so the standard estimates overstate the impact of child health in the observed range on child schooling success, which should strike a cautionary note about the interpretation of the many production function estimates in the literature, including, but not limited to those that focus on household production.

Suggested Citation

  • Jere Behrman & Victor Lavy, "undated". "Child Health and Schooling Achievement: Association, Causality and Household Allocations," CARESS Working Papres 97-23, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:pennca:97-23

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 2002. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 134-144, January.
    2. Stockman, Alan C., 1987. "Economic theory and exchange rate forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 3-15.
    3. Christoffersen, Peter F. & Diebold, Francis X., 1997. "Optimal Prediction Under Asymmetric Loss," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(06), pages 808-817, December.
    4. Hansen, Bruce E, 1994. "Autoregressive Conditional Density Estimation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(3), pages 705-730, August.
    5. Phillips, Peter C B, 1996. "Econometric Model Determination," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(4), pages 763-812, July.
    6. Christoffersen, Peter F & Diebold, Francis X, 1996. "Further Results on Forecasting and Model Selection under Asymmetric Loss," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(5), pages 561-571, Sept.-Oct.
    7. Weiss, Andrew A, 1996. "Estimating Time Series Models Using the Relevant Cost Function," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(5), pages 539-560, Sept.-Oct.
    8. Granger, C. W. J. & Newbold, Paul, 1986. "Forecasting Economic Time Series," Elsevier Monographs, Elsevier, edition 2, number 9780122951831 edited by Shell, Karl.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Harold Alderman & John Hoddinott & Bill Kinsey, 2006. "Long term consequences of early childhood malnutrition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(3), pages 450-474, July.
    2. Hazan, Moshe & Zoabi, Hosny, 2005. "Does Longevity Cause Growth?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4931, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Belot, Michèle & James, Jonathan, 2011. "Healthy school meals and educational outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 489-504, May.
    4. Sylvain Dessy & Stephane Pallage, 2001. "Why Banning the Worst Forms of Child Labour Would Hurt Poor Countries," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 135, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
    5. Weili Ding & Steven F. Lehrer & J. Niels Rosenquist & Janet Audrain-McGovern, 2006. "The Impact of Poor Health on Education: New Evidence Using Genetic Markers," NBER Working Papers 12304, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Hongbin Li & Xianguo Yao & Junsen Zhang & Li-An Zhou, 2005. "Parental childcare and children's educational attainment: evidence from China," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(18), pages 2067-2076.
    7. Gustav RANIS & Frances STEWART, 2001. "Growth And Human Development: Comparative Latin American Experience," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, vol. 39(4), pages 333-365, December.
    8. Vermeersch, Christel & Kremer, Michael, 2005. "Schools meals, educational achievement and school competition: evidence from a randomized evaluation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3523, The World Bank.
    9. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1996. "The Effect of Teen Childbearing and Single Parenthood on Childhood Disabilities and Progress in School," NBER Working Papers 5807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Jere R. Behrman, 1994. "Intra-family Distribution in Developing Countries," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 33(3), pages 253-296.
    11. Lamichhane, Dirga Kumar & Mangyo, Eiji, 2011. "Water accessibility and child health: Use of the leave-out strategy of instruments," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 1000-1010.
    12. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pb:p:2859-2939 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Anil B. Deolalikar, 1996. "Child nutritional status and child growth in Kenya: Socioeconomic determinants," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(3), pages 375-393.
    14. Alejandro Ramirez & Gustav Ranis, 1997. "Economic Growth and Human Development," Working Papers 787, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    15. Monazza Aslam, 2003. "The Determinants of Student Achievement in Government and Private Schools in Pakistan," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 42(4), pages 841-876.
    16. Aturupane, Harsha & Deolalikar, Anil B. & Gunewardena, Dileni, 2008. "The Determinants of Child Weight and Height in Sri Lanka: A Quantile Regression Approach," WIDER Working Paper Series 053, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

    More about this item


    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:wop:pennca:97-23. 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: (Thomas Krichel). 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.