Early Childhood Investments and the Quantity-Quality Trade-Off

63 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2020 Last revised: 16 Aug 2020

See all articles by Chinhui Juhn

Chinhui Juhn

University of Houston - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Yona Rubinstein

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

Andy Zuppann

Vega Economics

Date Written: July 2020

Abstract

We integrate key insights from the early childhood literature into the quantity-quality model. In theory the adverse effect of shocks to family size diminishes with birth spacing for children already born and rises for newborn siblings. The effect on the older child therefore provides a credible proxy for the quantity-quality trade-off only at short spacing intervals. Using matched mother-child data from NLSY79, we find robust empirical support for this proposition. Cognitive scores of children already born drop following shocks to family size but only when siblings arrive at younger ages. Family resources also matter. The cognitive scores of children drop only in households in which the mother has below median AFQT score.

JEL Classification: J13, J24

Suggested Citation

Juhn, Chinhui and Rubinstein, Yona and Zuppann, Andy, Early Childhood Investments and the Quantity-Quality Trade-Off (July 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP15032, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3650147

Chinhui Juhn (Contact Author)

University of Houston - Department of Economics ( email )

Houston, TX 77204-5882
United States
713-743-3823 (Phone)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Yona Rubinstein

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Management ( email )

United Kingdom

Andy Zuppann

Vega Economics ( email )

Berkeley, CA
United States

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