If Looks Could Heal: Child Health and Paternal Investment

36 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2017

See all articles by Marlon Tracey

Marlon Tracey

Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

Solomon W. Polachek

State University of New York at Binghamton; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

Data from the first two waves of the Fragile Family and Child Wellbeing study indicate that infants who look like their father at birth are healthier one year later. The reason is such father-child resemblance induces a father to spend more time engaged in positive parenting. An extra day (per month) of time-investment by a typical visiting father enhances child health by just over 10% of a standard deviation. This estimate is not biased by the effect of child health on father-involvement or omitted maternal ability, thereby eliminating endogeneity biases that plague existing studies. The result has implications regarding the role of a father's time in enhancing child health, especially in fragile families.

Keywords: child health, nonresident father, father-child resemblance

JEL Classification: I12, J12, J13

Suggested Citation

Tracey, Marlon and Polachek, Solomon W., If Looks Could Heal: Child Health and Paternal Investment. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10866, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2998975

Marlon Tracey (Contact Author)

Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville ( email )

1 Hairpin Drive
Edwardsville, IL 62026-1102
United States

Solomon W. Polachek

State University of New York at Binghamton ( email )

Binghamton, NY 13902-6000
United States
607-777-2144 (Phone)
607-777-4900 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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