Parental Beliefs About Returns to Child Health Investments

32 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2018

See all articles by Pietro Biroli

Pietro Biroli

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Teodora Boneva

University College London - Department of Economics

Akash Raja

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics

Christopher Rauh

University of Cambridge - Cambridge-INET Institute

Abstract

Childhood obesity has adverse health and productivity consequences and poses negative externalities to health services. Its increase in recent decades can be traced back to unhealthy habits acquired in the household. We investigate whether parental beliefs play a role by eliciting beliefs about the returns to a recommended-calorie diet and regular exercise using hypothetical investment scenarios. We show that perceived returns are predictive of health investments and outcomes, and that less educated parents perceive the returns to health investments to be lower, thus contributing to the socioeconomic inequality in health outcomes and the intergenerational transmission of obesity.

Keywords: parental investments, health, beliefs, inequality, equality of opportunity, obesity

JEL Classification: D19, I10, I12, I14

Suggested Citation

Biroli, Pietro and Boneva, Teodora and Raja, Akash and Rauh, Christopher, Parental Beliefs About Returns to Child Health Investments. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11336, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3129280

Pietro Biroli (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Z├╝rich
Switzerland

Teodora Boneva

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Drayton House
30 Gordon Street
London, WC1H 0AX
United Kingdom

Akash Raja

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics

United Kingdom

Christopher Rauh

University of Cambridge - Cambridge-INET Institute ( email )

Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge, CB3 9DD
United Kingdom

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