The Development and Happiness of Very Young Children

41 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2016

See all articles by Paul Anand

Paul Anand

The Open University - Department of Economics; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS); IZA; University of Oxford

Laurence S. J. Roope

University of Oxford - Health Economics Research Centre (HERC)

Abstract

The paper demonstrates how Sen's (1985) alternative approach to welfare economics can be used to shed light on the wellbeing of very young children. More specifically, we estimate versions of the three key relations from his framework using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) Survey. Our primary models provide evidence that skills are related to involvement in cognate activities with a parent, indicating a behavioural relationship between capabilities and activities which is not explicit in Sen's original set-up, but is key to the development and happiness of young children.A second set of models indicates that the daily activities of very young children are related to household income but that in some cases the association with parenting inputs is stronger. Thirdly, we report happiness regressions for the children which seem to suggest that shopping and reading are valued but that their distribution is limited in some cases – probably either by household income or parental education. Across the piece, we find that the number of siblings is negatively related to activity involvement with parents, as hypothesised by Becker, but positively related to everyday, motor and social skills. Combined with evidence from other studies, we conclude that the capability approach provides a useful framework for understanding the economics of wellbeing across the entire life course.

Keywords: child development, well-being, happiness, daily activities, capabilities

JEL Classification: D60, I31, J13

Suggested Citation

Anand, Paul and Roope, Laurence S. J., The Development and Happiness of Very Young Children. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10218, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2846309

Paul Anand (Contact Author)

The Open University - Department of Economics ( email )

Walton Hall
Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
United Kingdom

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS) ( email )

United Kingdom

IZA ( email )

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Laurence S. J. Roope

University of Oxford - Health Economics Research Centre (HERC) ( email )

Department of Public Health
Old Road Campus
Oxford OX3 7LF
United Kingdom

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