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Title: Investing in Soft Skills: The Effect of Maternal Education on Child Noncognitive and Cognitive Outcomes
Authors: Sudduth, Zoe
Advisors: Reichman, Nancy
Department: Economics
Class Year: 2019
Abstract: The economics literature of noncognitive development in children has yet to fully explore maternal education's association with specific child behaviors. This paper investigates the effect of increased maternal education at the time of child birth on a variety of nine-year-old children's behavioral and cognitive outcomes, as well as the extent to which the mechanisms of assortative mating and household income capture these effects. Using behavioral scales from the Child Behavioral Checklist (CBCL) and data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), I employ ordinary least squares (OLS), logistic and instrumental variable (IV) regression models. I find that increased maternal education is significantly associated with all cognitive outcomes, robust to a variety of controls. I also find that increases in maternal education are significantly associated with decreased somatic complaints and withdrawn/depressed behaviors in nine-year-old children. Household income captures a larger effect of increased maternal education than assortative mating, but both account for significant portions of the initial effects of maternal education. Overall, the findings suggest that maternal education plays an important role in both child cognitive development and noncognitive development, having strong associations with specific behavioral outcomes. Future research should investigate effects of increased maternal education after child birth and its potential effects on child behavior.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Economics, 1927-2022

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