nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2016‒03‒06
four papers chosen by

  1. Early maternal employment and non-cognitive outcomes in early childhood and adolescence: evidence from British birth cohort data By Warn N. Lekfuangfu; Nattavudh Powdthavee; Andrew E. Clark; George Ward
  2. Psychological Skills, Education, and Longevity of High-Ability Individuals By Peter A. Savelyev
  3. Prenatal testosterone exposure predicts mindfulness: Does this mediate its effect on happiness? By Neyse, Levent; Ring, Patrick; Bosworth, Steven
  4. Non-cognitive development in infancy: the influence of maternal employment and the mediating role of childcare By Thérèse McDonnell

  1. By: Warn N. Lekfuangfu; Nattavudh Powdthavee; Andrew E. Clark; George Ward
    Abstract: We analyse the relationship between early maternal employment and child emotional and behavioural outcomes in early childhood and adolescence. Using rich data from a cohort of children born in the UK in the early 1990s, we find little evidence of a strong statistical relationship between early maternal employment and any of the emotional outcomes. However, there is some evidence that children whose mother is in full-time employment at the 18th month have worse behavioural outcomes at ages 4, 7, and 12.We suggest that these largely insignificant results may in part be explained by mothers who return tofull-time work earlier being able to compensate their children: we highlight the role of fathers’ time investment and alternative childcare arrangements in this respect.
    Keywords: child outcomes; maternal employment; well-being; conduct; ALSPAC
    JEL: D1 I1 J6
    Date: 2015–10
  2. By: Peter A. Savelyev (Vanderbilt University, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: Based on the 1922–1991 Terman data of children with high ability, I investigate the effects of childhood psychological skills and post-compulsory education on longevity. I identify causal effects and account for measurement error using factor-analytic methodology (Heckman et al., 2006). Latent class analysis supports the causal interpretation of results. For males, I find strong effects of psychological skills and education on longevity and an interaction between personality and education. Results are in line with the IV literature. For females, who are born around 1910 and live longer than men, I find no effects of education and personality on longevity.
    Keywords: longevity, survival function, life expectancy, value of longevity, post-compulsory education, IQ, personality skills, Big Five, average treatment effect, Terman Data of Children with High Ability, gender difference
    JEL: I1 C1
    Date: 2014–08–04
  3. By: Neyse, Levent; Ring, Patrick; Bosworth, Steven
    Abstract: This study investigates the connection between mindfulness and prenatal testosterone exposure and explores whether this is related to the relationship between mindfulness and human well-being as captured by three separate measures. In a sample of 90 German student participants, we find that subjects' digit ratio - a reliable indicator for exposure to prenatal testosterone - predicts their Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) scores. Respondents with moderate levels of testosterone exposure have the highest MAAS scores. We additionally elicit participants' self-reported general life satisfaction and current happiness levels as well as their estimates about others' general life satisfaction. We find that MAAS strongly predicts absolute and relative life satisfaction and also current happiness levels, but digit ratios do not mediate the relationship between human well-being and mindfulness.
    Keywords: Mindfulness,Digit ratio (2D:4D),Prenatal Testosterone,Life Satisfaction,Happiness
    Date: 2015
  4. By: Thérèse McDonnell (School of Economics, University College Dublin)
    Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between maternal employment during infancy and the non-cognitive development of pre-school children. Non-cognitive skills such as self-control, emotional regulation, empathy and patience are at least as important as cognitive skills for personal development and later labour market success. Drawing on recent advances in the economics literature on the theory of skill formation, this study uses data on Irish pre-school children (Growing Up in Ireland, Infant Cohort) to examine the influence of maternal employment in infancy on children’s non-cognitive skills. Propensity score matching addresses the issue of potential selection bias and mediation analysis is used to investigate possible mechanisms for the effect of maternal employment, in particular the role of childcare, parental stress, quality of parent-child attachment and income. Using the score derived from the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) to identify a problematic behavioural score at 3 years, no significant effects are found for maternal employment at 9 months. However, when heterogeneity is investigated, effects are identified for children from less advantaged backgrounds, as measured by maternal education, with full-time maternal employment at 9 months having a significant and detrimental effect on non-cognitive development at 3 years old. This effect is primarily mediated by childcare choices, such that children in informal childcare at 9 months, particularly unpaid grandparental arrangements, are more likely to have behavioural difficulties at 3 years. While parent-child attachment plays a modest role, income and parental stress do not explain the effect of maternal employment on child socio-emotional scores. When selection on observables is used to assess bias arising from selection on unobservables, maternal employment estimates are determined to be a lower bound. As no adverse effects are found for children from more advantaged backgrounds, policies that support less advantaged families during this sensitive period, such as adequate paid maternity leave and access to quality affordable childcare, should be considered in order to address this inequality.
    Keywords: non-cognitive skills, socio-emotional, maternal employment, childcare.
    JEL: D10 D60 J13 J16 J22
    Date: 2016–02–10

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