Child Development Production Functions

35 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2006

See all articles by Fali Huang

Fali Huang

Singapore Management University - School of Social Sciences

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

Suggested Citation

Huang, Fali, Child Development Production Functions (February 28, 2006). Available at SSRN: or

Fali Huang (Contact Author)

Singapore Management University - School of Social Sciences ( email )

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65-68280833 (Fax)

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