Family and School in Child Development: The Effect of Family Instability, the Role of the Father, and School Quality on Cognitive Outcomes

Jaesung Choi, University of Pennsylvania

This study estimates a cognitive production function during childhood. We focus on family transitions, paternal contribution, and school quality. We estimate the parameters of the model using data from the ECLS-B, ECLS-K, and FFCWS using alternative specifications. Empirical specification takes into account unobserved heterogeneity of children and families, endogeneity of family formation, and the cumulative nature of cognitive development. In addition, we use the abundant data on school and teacher characteristics at the classroom level. After conducting cross-validation across these specifications, we employ our results to investigate how various family and school inputs contribute to racial test score gaps.

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Presented in Session 95: Race and Gender Inequality in Economic Outcomes