In recent years in Italy, as a result of the initiative by the NGO Save the Children Italia and of the government action, we have witnessed the success of the notion of “povertà educativa”, as an effective way to indicate severe inequalities in education across the country. Firstly, the aim of this paper is to shed light on the different concepts and measures of educational poverty in socio-economic literature, in order to highlight specific and innovative aspects of this idea. Moreover, the paper intends to scrutinize Save the Children’s proposal in order to monitor and tackle educational poverty as well as to show how the action of the NGO has influenced the development of Italian recent government policies against child and educational poverty.
We develop a theory of parent-child relations that rationalizes the choice between alternative parenting styles (as set out in Baumrind, 1967). Parents maximize an objective function that combines Beckerian altruism and paternalism towards children. They can affect their children's choices via two channels: either by influencing children's preferences or by imposing direct restrictions on their choice sets. Different parenting styles (authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive) emerge as equilibrium outcomes and are affected both by parental preferences and by the socioeconomic environment. Parenting style, in turn, feeds back into the children's welfare and economic success. The theory is consistent with the decline of authoritarian parenting observed in industrialized countries and with the greater prevalence of more permissive parenting in countries characterized by low inequality.
This study estimates the effect of a targeted early childhood intervention program on global and experienced measures of maternal well-being utilizing a randomized controlled trial design. The primary aim of the intervention is to improve children’s school readiness skills by working directly with parents to improve their knowledge of child development and parenting behavior. One potential externality of the program is well-being benefits for parents given its direct focus on improving parental coping, self-efficacy, and problem solving skills, as well as generating an indirect effect on parental well-being by targeting child developmental problems.
Participants from a socio-economically disadvantaged community are randomly assigned during pregnancy to an intensive 5-year home visiting parenting program or a control group. We estimate and compare treatment effects on multiple measures of global and experienced well-being using permutation testing to account for small sample size and a stepdown procedure to account for multiple testing.
The intervention has no impact on global well-being as measured by life satisfaction and parenting stress or experienced negative affect using episodic reports derived from the Day Reconstruction Method (DRM). Treatment effects are observed on measures of experienced positive affect derived from the DRM and a measure of mood yesterday.
The limited treatment effects suggest that early intervention programs may produce some improvements in experienced positive well-being, but no effects on negative aspects of well-being. Different findings across measures may result as experienced measures of well-being avoid the cognitive biases that impinge upon global assessments.
High-quality early childhood programs have been shown to have substantial benefits in reducing crime, raising earnings, and promoting education. Much less is known about their benefits for adult health. We report on the long-term health effects of one of the oldest and most heavily cited early childhood interventions with long-term follow-up evaluated by the method of randomization: the Carolina Abecedarian Project (ABC). Using recently collected biomedical data, we find that disadvantaged children randomly assigned to treatment have significantly lower prevalence of risk factors for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in their mid-30s. The evidence is especially strong for males. The mean systolic blood pressure among the control males is 143 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), whereas it is only 126 mm Hg among the treated. One in four males in the control group is affected by metabolic syndrome, whereas none in the treatment group are affected. To reach these conclusions, we address several statistical challenges. We use exact permutation tests to account for small sample sizes and conduct a parallel bootstrap confidence interval analysis to confirm the permutation analysis. We adjust inference to account for the multiple hypotheses tested and for nonrandom attrition. Our evidence shows the potential of early life interventions for preventing disease and promoting health.
The growth in labour market participation among women with young children has raised concerns about its implications for child
cognitive development. We estimate a model of the cognitive development process of children nested within an otherwise standard
model of household behaviour. The household makes labour supply decisions and provides time and money inputs into the child
quality production process during the development period. Our empirical results indicate that both parents' time inputs are
important for the cognitive development of their children, particularly when the child is young. Money expenditures are less
productive in terms of producing child quality. Comparative statics exercises demonstrate that cash transfers to households
with children have small impacts on child quality due to the relatively low impact of money investments on child outcomes
and the fact that a significant fraction of the transfer is spent on other household consumption and the leisure of the parents.
Book description: The surge of inequality in income and wealth in the United States over the past twenty-five years has reversed the steady progress toward greater equality that had been underway throughout most of the twentieth century. This economic development has defied historical patterns and surprised many economists, producing vigorous debate. Inequality in America: What Role for Human Capital Policies? examines the ways in which human capital policies can address this important problem. Taking it as a given that potentially low-income workers would benefit from more human capital in the form of market skills and education, James Heckman and Alan Krueger discuss which policies would be most effective in providing it: should we devote more resources to the entire public school system, or to specialized programs like Head Start? Would relaxing credit restraints encourage more students to attend college? Does vocational training actually work? What is the best balance of private and public sector programs?
The book preserves the character of the symposium at which the papers were originally presented, recreating its atmosphere of lively debate. It begins with separate arguments by Krueger and Heckman (writing with Pedro Carneiro), which are followed by comments from other economists. Krueger and Heckman and Carneiro then offer separate responses to the comments and final rejoinders.
The Parents as Teachers (PAT) program is a parent-education program that includes home visiting and is designed to begin prenatally or at birth. Through home visits, visitors called parent educators help parents to strengthen their parenting skills and knowledge of child development and to prepare young children for school. This article describes the PAT program and reports the results of evaluations of two randomized trials of PAT: (1) the Northern California (Salinas Valley) Parents as Teachers Demonstration, which served primarily Latino parents in the Salinas Valley of California's Monterey County; and (2) the Teen Parents as Teachers Demonstration, which served adolescent parents in four counties in Southern California. The two evaluations revealed small and inconsistent positive effects on parent knowledge, attitudes, and behavior, and no gains in child development or health, when analyses compared the experimental and control groups overall. However, subgroup analyses in the Salinas Valley program indicated that children in primarily Spanish-speaking Latino families benefitted more than either non-Latino or English-speaking Latino families, with significant gains in cognitive, communication, social, and self-help development. Subgroup analyses in the Teen PAT Demonstration indicated that families that received both PAT services and comprehensive case management services designed to help mothers improve their life course benefitted most. Subgroup analyses in the Salinas Valley study suggested that children in families that received more intensive services benefitted more than children whose families received less intensive services. Results from that study suggested that home visits produced about a one-month developmental advantage per 10 visits for participating children.
This paper presents evidence on early skill formation and parental investment using an experimentally designed, home visiting program targeting disadvantaged Irish families. Program effects from pregnancy to 18 months are estimated using measures of parenting and child cognitive, noncognitive and physical development. Permutation testing, a stepdown procedure, and inverse probability weighting are applied to account for small sample size, multiple hypothesis testing, and attrition. The program's impact is concentrated on parental behaviors and the home environment with small to moderate effect sizes found. Deficits in parenting skills can be offset within a relatively short timeframe, yet continued investment may be required to observe child effects.
While a large literature has focused on the impact of parental investments on child cognitive development, very little is known about the role of child's own investments alongside that of the parents. By using the Child Development Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we model the cognitive production function for adolescents using an augmented value-added model and adopt an estimation method that takes account of unobserved child characteristics. We find that a child's own investments made during adolescence matter more than the mother's. Our empirical results appear to be robust to several sensitivity checks.
The allocation of children's time among different activities may be important for their cognitive and non-cognitive development. In our work we exploit time use diaries from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children to study the effect of time allocation across a wide range of alternative activities. By doing so we characterize the trade-off between the activities to which a child is exposed. On the one hand, our results suggests that time spent in educational activities, particularly with parents, is the most productive input for cognitive skill development. On the other hand, non-cognitive skills appear insensitive to alternative time allocations. Instead, these skills are greatly affected by the mother's parenting style.
This paper considers the sources of skill formation in a modern economy and emphasizes the importance of both cognitive and non-cognitive skills in producing economic and social success, and the importance of both formal academic institutions and families and firms as sources of learning. Skill formation is a dynamic process with strong synergistic components. Skill begets skill. Early investment promotes later investment. Non-cognitive skills and motivation are important determinants of success and these can be improved more successfully and at later ages than basic cognitive skills. Methods currently used to evaluate educational interventions ignore these non-cognitive skills and therefore substantially understate the benefits of early intervention programmes and mentoring and teenage motivation programmes. At current levels of investment, American society under-invests in the very young and over-invests in mature adults with low skills.
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Del Boca D. (2015). Child care Choices and Child Outcomes, IZA World of Labor, Number 134,
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