Family caring and children's reading and math skills

Robert Michael


This paper investigates the influence of “family caring” on children’s reading and mathematics test scores, controlling for the family’s resources.  Family caring is the parents’ habits regarding nurturing their children; it is measured by the behavior of parents during the pregnancy and infancy of their child.  Three hypotheses are developed and are empirically tested using three generations of data from the British NCDS.  Controlling for family resources, family caring as measured here, is found to be strongly correlated with children’s reading and math skills.  There is evidence that particularly low levels of family resources or family caring can be compensated for by larger investments of the other.  Since the data cover three generations of the same families, the study documents that the cross-generational correlations in family resources and in family caring behaviors are of approximately the same order of magnitude.



Investments in children; Intergenerational transmission; Longitudinal studies; Cognitive skills

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