It's All in the Stars: The Chinese Zodiac and the Effects of Parental Investments on Offspring's Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills Development

39 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2018

See all articles by Chih Ming Tan

Chih Ming Tan

University of North Dakota - College of Business & Public Administration - Department of Economics

Xiao Wang

University of Science and Technology of China

Xiaobo Zhang

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Date Written: February 9, 2018

Abstract

The importance of (early) parental investments in children’s cognitive and noncognitive outcomes is a question of deep policy significance. However, because parental investments are arguably endogenous, it is a great challenge to empirically estimate their importance. This paper exploits a rich and novel dataset, the China Family Panel Studies, and proposes a culture-specific instrumental variable based on the Chinese zodiac, in order to address this empirical challenge. By looking at the outcomes of children born just before and just after the cutoff for a “lucky” versus “nonlucky” zodiac sign, we find that parents’ investments have significant effects on their offspring’s development of both cognitive and noncognitive skills.

Keywords: CHINA, cognitive development, child development, economic development, human capital, parental investments, zodiac signs, early childhood educational investments

JEL Classification: I10, I15, J24, O12, O53

Suggested Citation

Tan, Chih Ming and Wang, Xiao and Zhang, Xiaobo, It's All in the Stars: The Chinese Zodiac and the Effects of Parental Investments on Offspring's Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills Development (February 9, 2018). IFPRI Discussion Paper 1708, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3132724

Chih Ming Tan (Contact Author)

University of North Dakota - College of Business & Public Administration - Department of Economics ( email )

293 Centennial Drive Stop 8369
Grand Forks, ND 58202-8369
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/chihmingtan/home

Xiao Wang

University of Science and Technology of China ( email )

China

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/xiaowangeconomics/

Xiaobo Zhang

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

2033 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
United States
202-862-5677 (Phone)
202-467-4439 (Fax)

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