Maternal Input Choices and Child Cognitive Development: Testing for Reverse Causality

31 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2010

Date Written: November 6, 2010

Abstract

This paper assesses whether the results of child achievement tests affect maternal employment and the child-care choices of mothers with prekindergarten children. To test this hypothesis, it first incorporates into Bernal and Keane’s (2010) model the mother’s imperfect knowledge of the child’s cognitive ability endowment and possible mechanisms through which the mother may learn the child’s endowment. Then it uses a quasi-structural approach to form approximations to the mother’s employment and child-care decision rules and jointly estimate them with the child cognitive development production function and wage equation. Using a sample of single mothers from the NLSY79, it finds evidence that maternal employment and child-care decisions are sensitive to past achievement scores. In particular, a mother whose child has taken the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test before entering kindergarten and whose child’s standardized test score is above a certain threshold intends to use child care more and work more part-time hours immediately after observing the child’s performance on the achievement test.

JEL Classification: C23, J13, J22

Suggested Citation

Nazarov, Zafar, Maternal Input Choices and Child Cognitive Development: Testing for Reverse Causality (November 6, 2010). RAND Working Paper Series WR-813, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1721101 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1721101

Zafar Nazarov (Contact Author)

RAND Corporation ( email )

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

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