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Parental Health and Child Behavior: Evidence from Parental Health Shocks

Aufsätze referiert extern - Web of Science

Andrea M. Mühlenweg, Franz G. Westermaier, Brant Morefield

In: Review of Economics of the Household 14 (2016), 3, S. 577-598


This study examines the importance of parental health in the development of child behavior during early childhood. Our analysis is based on child psychometric measures from a longitudinal German dataset, which tracks mothers and their newborns up to age six. We identify major changes in parental health (shocks) and control for a variety of initial characteristics of the child including prenatal conditions. The results are robust to placebo regressions of health shocks that occur after the outcomes are measured. Our findings point to negative effects of maternal health shocks on children’s emotional symptoms, conduct problems and hyperactivity. We estimate that maternal health shocks worsen outcomes by as much as 0.9 standard deviations. In contrast, paternal health seems to be less relevant to children’s behavioral skills.

JEL-Classification: I00;J24;I10
Keywords: Human Capital, Health, Non-cognitive Skills