Child Development Production Functions
35 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2006
Date Written: February 28, 2006
This paper estimates production functions of child cognitive and social development using NLSY79 child data. A longitudinal sample of eight- and nine-year-old children is constructed, which includes over two hundred home and school inputs starting from mother's prenatal care period as well as family background variables. A tree structured regression method is used to conduct estimation under various specifications, explicitly allowing for unobserved heterogeneity and non-linear structures. A small subset of earlier and current home inputs are found consistently important in explaining variances of child development results, while family backgrounds variables are seldom selected as primary predictors. The effect of maternal employment is negligible when detailed inputs are controlled, and the score gaps across race can be almost completely accounted for by home and school inputs.
Keywords: Child cognitive and social development, NLSY79 child, tree regression method, CART
JEL Classification: J24, C4
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