“Eliciting Maternal Subjective Expectations about the Technology of Cognitive Skill Formation”

On Wednesday, June 22nd, at 2.30pm, the NOVAFRICA Center welcomes Flávio Cunha, from Rice University to present his work on maternal investments and early childhood development.

Irma Elo
Jennifer Culhane
Flávio Cunha

We formulate a model of early childhood development that includes maternal subjective expectations (MSE) about the technology of skill formation. The model explores how MSE influences the amount and quality of maternal investments in the development of human capital of their child. The model cannot be estimated from data that are usually available to social scientists and thus requires primary data collection. We acquired such data by conducting studies where mothers were interviewed to elicit their MSE. The sample consists of socioeconomically disadvantaged African-American women. In addition, we used the data on child development and maternal investments from the Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (CNLSY/79) to objectively estimate the technology of skill formation. Our model suggests that a public policy or program that educated mothers about the objective technology of skill formation would lead to an increase in maternal investments by approximately 10% and the human capital at age 24 months would increase by 4.5%.

Please find further information about this seminar here.