Health Endowments and Parental Investments in Infancy and Early Childhood

37 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2007

See all articles by Ashlesha Datar

Ashlesha Datar

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR)

Rebecca Kilburn

RAND Corporation

David Loughran

RAND Corporation

Date Written: March 2006

Abstract

This paper tests whether parents reinforce or compensate for child endowments. The authors employ birth weight as a proxy for endowments and estimate how the difference in birth weight across siblings impacts specific parental investments, including breastfeeding initiation and duration, well-baby visits, immunizations, preschool attendance, and kindergarten entry age. They also examine whether parental investment in a child is impacted by her siblings' endowments. Their results indicate that heavier birth weight children receive higher levels of most parental investment than their lower birth weight siblings suggesting that parental investments in infancy and early childhood reinforce differences in endowments. In one exception, they find weak evidence that lower birth weight children enter kindergarten slightly later than their normal birth weight siblings, which could be interpreted as a compensating parental investment. Presence of a low birth weight sibling in the household increases the likelihood of investments such as well-baby visits and immunizations.

Keywords: Birth weight, health endowments, parental investments, intrahousehold allocation

JEL Classification: D13, I1

Suggested Citation

Datar, Ashlesha and Kilburn, Rebecca and Loughran, David, Health Endowments and Parental Investments in Infancy and Early Childhood (March 2006). RAND Working Paper Series No. WR-367. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1005226 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1005226

Ashlesha Datar (Contact Author)

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR) ( email )

635 Downey Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089-3332
United States

Rebecca Kilburn

RAND Corporation ( email )

1776 Main Street
P.O. Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

David Loughran

RAND Corporation ( email )

P.O. Box 2138
1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States
310-393-0411 x7257 (Phone)

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