Are Children's Socio-Emotional Skills Shaped by Parental Health Shocks?

48 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2020

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 17, 2020


Child skills are shaped by parental investments. When parents experience a health shock, their investments and therefore their children's skills may be affected. This paper estimates causal effects of severe parental health shocks on child socio-emotional skills. Drawing on a large-scale survey linked to hospital records, we find that socio-emotional skills of 11-16 year-olds are robust to parental health shocks, with the exception of significant but very small reductions in Conscientiousness. We study short-run effects with a child-fixed effects model, and dynamics around the shocks with event studies. A sibling comparison suggests some long-run build-up of effects of early shocks.

Keywords: Big Five personality traits, development of personality traits, parental health shocks, socio-emotional skills, non-cognitive skills, skill formation

JEL Classification: J24, I10, I21

Suggested Citation

García-Miralles, Esteban and Gensowski, Miriam, Are Children's Socio-Emotional Skills Shaped by Parental Health Shocks? (July 17, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Esteban García-Miralles

Banco de España ( email )

Alcala 50
Madrid 28014

Miriam Gensowski (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen ( email )

Nørregade 10
Copenhagen, København DK-1165

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