October 2012

No. 6962: Does Mother Know Best? Parental Discrepancies in Assessing Child Functioning

published online as 'Does mother know best? Parental discrepancies in assessing child behavioral and educational outcomes' in: Review of Economics of the Household, 2016

We investigate the degree of correspondence between parents' reports on child behavioral and educational outcomes using the most recent available wave of a rich Danish longitudinal survey of children (the DALSC). All outcomes are measured at age 11 when the children are expected to be in fifth grade. Once discrepancies are detected, we analyze whether they are driven by noisy evaluations or by systematic bias, focusing on the role of parental characteristics and response heterogeneity. We then explicitly assess the relative importance of the mother's versus the father's assessments in explaining child academic performance and diagnosed mental health to investigate whether one parent is systematically a better informant of their child's outcomes than the other.