nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2019‒07‒08
two papers chosen by

  1. When Behavioral Barriers Are Too High or Low: How Timing Matters for Parenting Interventions By Cortes, Kalena E.; Fricke, Hans; Loeb, Susanna; Song, David S.; York, Ben
  2. The Impact of Family Co-Residence and Childcare on Children's Cognitive Skill By Deng, Lanfang; Li, Haizheng; Liu, Zhiqiang

  1. By: Cortes, Kalena E. (Texas A&M University); Fricke, Hans (Stanford University); Loeb, Susanna (Stanford University); Song, David S. (Stanford University); York, Ben (ParentPowered Public Benefit Corporation)
    Abstract: The time children spend with their parents affects their development. Parenting programs can help parents use that time more effectively. Text-messaged-based parenting curricula have proven an effective means of supporting positive parenting practices by providing easy and fun activities that reduce informational and behavioral barriers. These programs may be more effective if delivered during times when parents are particularly in need of support, such as after work, or, alternatively when parents have more time to interact with their child, such as on a day off of work. This study compares the effects of an early childhood text-messaging program sent during the weekend to the same program sent on weekdays. We find that sending the text messages on the weekend is, on average, more beneficial to children's literacy and math development. This effect is particularly strong for initially lower achieving children, while the weekday texts show some benefits for higher achieving children on higher order skills. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the parents of lower achieving students, on average, face such high barriers during weekdays that supports are not enough to overcome these barriers, while for parents of higher achieving students, weekday texts are more effective because weekdays are more challenging, but not so difficult as to be untenable for positive parenting. In sum, the findings suggest that parenting support works best when parents have time, attention, and need.
    Keywords: text messaging, parental engagement, literacy and reading skills, math skills, and parent-child activities
    JEL: I21 I24 J18
    Date: 2019–06
  2. By: Deng, Lanfang (Hunan University); Li, Haizheng (Georgia Tech); Liu, Zhiqiang (University at Buffalo, SUNY)
    Abstract: We investigate the impact of family co-residence structure and the allocation of major childcare responsibility across generations on a child's cognitive development. Using data from China, we find that children living in multigenerational families generally perform better in their cognitive tests after controlling for other factors. This result holds only for elementary school children, but not for middle school children. However, children who live only with their parents and children who live only with their grandparents (the left-behind children) do not show a significant difference in their cognitive performance. Moreover, we find that the effect of family environment differs between boys and girls. Girls from multigenerational families with grandparents as the main caregiver generally do better than other girls; while for boys, three-generation co-residence has a positive impact regardless of who the main caregiver is. Additionally, there is some evidence that the co-residence and childcare arrangements respond to the cognitive performance of girls more than boys. Our exploration of behavioral factors as potential operating mechanisms in explaining our findings indicates that the influences of family environment are complex and subtle.
    Keywords: family environment, family co-residence, childcare structure, child cognitive skill, China family panel survey
    JEL: I21 I2
    Date: 2019–06

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