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Author: Farzana, Sadia
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1. Farzana, Sadia
Family and Friends: The Driving Forces Behind Our Academic Success and Skill Development
Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Economics, University of Iowa, 2022
Cohort(s): Children of the NLSY79, NLSY79, NLSY79 Young Adult
Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT)
Keyword(s): Cognitive Ability; Educational Attainment; Family Income; Intergenerational Patterns/Transmission; Maternal Employment; Mothers, Education; Noncognitive Skills; Parenting Skills/Styles

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

In Chapter 2, we estimate within-generational and inter-generational spillover effects in educational attainment based on data from the NLSY surveys. This study finds that a one-year increase in first-born's education causes a significant increase of 4.5 months in younger sibling’s schooling and a one-year increase in maternal education significantly increases child's education by around 3 months. It also finds that the higher the birth order, the smaller the maternal and first-born's spillover effects. Furthermore, we provide empirical evidence that maternal education is passed on to children through family income as well as child rearing practices. Higher maternal education leads to higher family income as well as better cognitive stimulation and emotional support for the children that, in turn, influence children’s educational attainment. These findings emphasize the importance of both mother's and sibling's education in understanding the human capital production function and estimating education externalities.

The third chapter studies the contemporaneous effects of family income and maternal employment on the cognitive and noncognitive skills of children ages 5-16. By using legislative changes associated with income tax liabilities and interstate banking as exogenous sources of variation in family income and maternal labor supply, this study makes important improvements to the methodologies existing in the literature. It shows that on a child's cognitive achievements family income has a significant positive effect, but maternal labor supply has a negative effect. Family income has no significant effect on a child's noncognitive development, whereas maternal work has a significant effect although the direction of effect varies among different sub-scales. These findings confirm the existence of the trade-off between time and money that mothers face. The trade-off arises because maternal working hours, with its negative direct effects, may yield positive indirect effects through income. Furthermore, our extensive investigation on mechanisms suggests that that the available sources of care as an alternative to parental care may not be as conducive to producing non-cognitive skills as they are to producing cognitive skills. With an increase in income, families could afford a better school or a better after-school activity but these alternative sources may be better only at producing cognitive skills. Thus, even with an increase in income families have little scope to switch to a more productive alternative care conducive to non-cognitive skills, resulting in an insignificant effect of income.

Bibliography Citation
Farzana, Sadia. Family and Friends: The Driving Forces Behind Our Academic Success and Skill Development. Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Economics, University of Iowa, 2022.