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Author: Jung, Nahri
Resulting in 2 citations.
1. Kim, Minseop
Byrne, Thomas
Jung, Nahri
Family Wealth and College Attendance: Borrowing Constraints or Scholastic Ability?
Presented: Washington DC, Society for Social Work and Research Conference, January 2012:
Also: http://sswr.confex.com/sswr/2012/webprogram/Paper16868.html
Cohort(s): NLSY97
Publisher: Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR)
Keyword(s): Assets; Cognitive Development; College Education; Debt/Borrowing; Family Income; Test Scores/Test theory/IRT; Wealth

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

Background and Purpose: This study aims to examine how various forms of family wealth affect college attendance. Family wealth may have an effect on educational attainment over and above the effect of family income that may play a pivotal role in children's future socio-economic status. In light of this, a handful of studies have recently examined the extent to which various forms of wealth (e.g. liquid assets, illiquid assets, and debt) affects post-secondary educational outcomes including college attendance and completion. However, the underlying mechanism that accounts for the relationship still remains unclear. While the borrowing constraint hypothesis considers lack of economic resources to finance college education as a major barrier to college attendance, the ability hypothesis posits that family wealth affects college attendance as it is a crucial determinant of the ability of children to obtain post-secondary education. In other words, whereas the former focuses more on a direct financial effect, the latter emphasizes an indirect effect of family wealth through its impact on the scholastic ability of children. To test these two hypotheses, this study empirically examines a path model in which three forms of family wealth (liquid assets, illiquid assets, and debt) are assumed to have a direct effect on college attendance, and an indirect effect via SAT performance, which is one of the most important criteria in college admission.

Method: We utilize the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97), which is the only national dataset that provides detailed reliable information on family wealth, SAT score, and college attendance. The study sample drawn from the NLSY97 consists of children who reported that they had taken the SAT between 1996 and 2003 (N=3,216). We construct wealth variables measuring illiquid assets, liquid assets, and debt. For statistical analysis, we use structural equation modeling (SEM) with SAT scores (verbal and math) serving as indicators of scholastic ability. SEM enables us to simultaneously estimate both direct and indirect effects on college attendance. Results: The SEM results support the ability hypothesis rather than the borrowing constraints hypothesis. Although, as expected, the liquid and illiquid assets have a positive effect, the direct effects are not significant. On the other hand, a family wealth measure, liquid assets shows a meaningful, indirect effect on college attendance through SAT (Odds ratio: 1.014, p<.05). Finally, although it is not of primary interest, family income, a traditional way to measure economic resources, is found to have a direct effect on college attendance (Odds ratio: 1.074, p<.05).

Conclusions and implications: This study suggests that family wealth, especially liquid assets which are easily convertible, is important for children's cognitive development, which is a strong predictor of post-secondary education. This finding suggests that it is important to enhance programs designed to encourage poor families to accumulate assets to promote educational achievement of their children. It should also be noted that given the observed direct effect of family income on college attendance, this study does not contradict current policy which helps youth from lower income families finance post-secondary education through borrowing.

Bibliography Citation
Kim, Minseop, Thomas Byrne and Nahri Jung. "Family Wealth and College Attendance: Borrowing Constraints or Scholastic Ability?." Presented: Washington DC, Society for Social Work and Research Conference, January 2012:.
2. Kim, Minseop
Jung, Nahri
Parental Shift Works and Children's Cognitive Outcomes: A Sibling Fixed-Effects Regression Model
Presented: San Antonio TX, Society for Social Work and Research Annual Conference, January 2014
Cohort(s): Children of the NLSY79, NLSY79
Publisher: Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR)
Keyword(s): Cognitive Development; Maternal Employment; Modeling, Fixed Effects; Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT); Shift Workers; Work Hours

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

Background: With the rise of a 24/7 economy, a growing body of research has examined the impacts of parental shift works, which are especially prevalent among welfare leavers and low-income families, on child development, including cognitive outcomes. Given that parents with shift works may represent distinct groups, it is important to deal with selection bias and/or omitted variable bias in estimating the effects of parental shift works. However, previous empirical studies have often relied on observational data and conventional linear regression, which is unable to control for unmeasured parental characteristics (e.g., parental intelligence). Hence, it is unclear whether their findings reflect causal effects or biased results. In order to address this limitation, we examined the association between parental shift works and children’s cognitive outcomes (under age 5), using a sibling fixed-effects regression (SFE), which helps us make a better causal inference.

Method: Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) and its Child Supplement (NLSY-CS), we pooled 7838 children born to the NLSY female sample. Parental shift work was measured by five categories: 1) day shifts (if the main job begins at 6 am or later and ends by 6 pm); 2) evening shifts (between 2 pm and midnight); 3) night shifts (between 9 pm and 6 am); 4) other shifts (i.e., split-shift, rotating shift, and irregular hours); and 5) not working. Children’s cognitive outcome was measured by the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test - Revised (PPVT-R). We conducted OLS regression followed by the SFE that regressed differences in sibling PPVT-R scores on differences in siblings’ exposure to parental shift work, differencing out any sibling-invariant characteristics associated with the family, including any unobserved heterogeneity that is constant across siblings within the family.

Results: Our OLS model suggested that paternal night shifts had a negative effect on children’s PPVT-R, while no maternal shift works had significant impacts. Specifically, the PPVT-R score of children with fathers working night shifts was on average about 7 points lower than that of their peers with fathers working standard day shifts (b=-7.36, p<.01), indicating that children with fathers working night shifts fell .35 standard deviation on the PPVT-R scale behind. However, in our SFE model, this negative effect of paternal night shifts dramatically decreased and was not statistically significant (b=-1.88, p>.05), indicating that there was essentially no difference in the PPVT-R between paternal night shifts and standard day shifts.

Implications: Unlike previous studies, our study does not provide empirical evidence that parental shift works have negative effects on children’s cognitive outcomes, suggesting that we should be cautious in making a causal claim from observational data. However, given that the SFE also has limitations, further research is needed to ascertain the causal nature of the intergenerational effects of parental shift works.

Bibliography Citation
Kim, Minseop and Nahri Jung. "Parental Shift Works and Children's Cognitive Outcomes: A Sibling Fixed-Effects Regression Model." Presented: San Antonio TX, Society for Social Work and Research Annual Conference, January 2014.