January 2016

IZA DP No. 9686: Parenting Style as an Investment in Human Development

published in: Journal of Population Economics, 2019, 32, 1315 - 1352

We propose a household production function approach to human development in which the role of parenting style in child rearing is explicitly considered. Specifically, we model parenting style as an investment in human development that depends not only on inputs of time and market goods, but also on attention, i.e. cognitive effort. Socioeconomic disadvantage is linked to parenting style and human development through the constraints that it places on cognitive capacity. Our model finds empirical support. We demonstrate that parenting style is a construct that is distinct from standard goods- and time-intensive parental investments and that effective parenting styles are negatively correlated with socioeconomic disadvantage. Moreover, parenting style is an important determinant of young adult's human capital net of other parental investments.