Endowments and Parental Investments in Infancy and Early Childhood

Published In: Demography, v. 47, no. 1, Feb. 2010, p. 145-162

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2010

by Ashlesha Datar, M. Rebecca Kilburn, David S. Loughran

This article tests whether parents reinforce or compensate for child endowments. We estimate how the difference in birth weight across siblings impacts specific parental investments: breast-feeding, well-baby visits, immunizations, and preschool attendance. Our results indicate that normal-birthweight children are 5%-11% more likely to receive early childhood parental investments than their low-birth-weight siblings. Moreover, the presence of additional low-birth-weight siblings in the household increases the likelihood of investments such as well-baby visits and immunizations for normal-birth-weight children. These results suggest that parental investments in early childhood tend to reinforce endowment differences.

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