Essays on the spillovers of the household environment on childhood development: domestic violence, health and education, and maternal working hours on children's wellbeing

Rossello-Roig, M. (2017). Essays on the spillovers of the household environment on childhood development: domestic violence, health and education, and maternal working hours on children's wellbeing. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, Universtiy of London)

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Abstract

This thesis contains three chapters that each study the spillover effects of two aspects of the child's household environment, Domestic Violence (chapter one and two) and Maternal Working Hours (chapter three). The first chapter looks at Children's Health, the second at Education Outcomes and the third looks at children's Well-Being. Understanding what influences a child's early development is of paramount importance as it explains future job market performance and success in life in general. All chapters exploit the data set UK Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), a longitudinal survey following around 19,000 children born in the UK in 2000-01.

The first chapter studies the effect of Domestic Violence on children's health production function. We use waves 4 and 5 of the MCS, when children are aged 7 and 11, respectively. We find that there is a strong negative externality of living in a household where there is violence on children's parental-assessed health outcomes. Simultaneity between the child's health and the existence of Domestic Violence in the household makes it diffcult to establish a causal relationship, so we use an instrumental approach to address the potential bias caused by this. In particular, our results show that children exposed to Domestic Violence appear to be between 55% and 61% less likely to have their health rated as Excellent. Our results are robust and statistically significant across all specifications. Our paper not only sheds light on the negative impact of Domestic Violence on children's health but provides a robust quantification of this effect. This chapter is co-authored with Prof. Jofre-Bonet and Dr. Serra-Sastre.

The second chapter studies the spillover effect on children's educational attainment of living in a household in which mothers are subject to Domestic Violence. To do so, we exploit measurements of the child's educational performance in English, Science, Mathematics, Physical Education, Creativity, and Information and Technology by the age of 7 and 11, available in the MCS. Our results suggest that growing up in a household where there is Domestic Violence has a negative impact on all educational outcomes. Our results are robust and hold when addressing several potential sources of sample selection bias. Children from domestically abused mothers lose around 0.20 standard deviations in English and 0.30 standard deviations in Mathematics scores at an age as early as 11 years. The cumulative negative effect is heterogenous across academic areas, being more pronounced for those subjects where past knowledge acquisition is essential (i.e., Mathematics and Science). This chapter is co-authored with Prof. Jofre-Bonet and Dr. Serra-Sastre.

The third chapter investigates how maternal working status is connected to children's well-being at ages 7 and 11. The rapid increase of female participation in the labour market, along with the impact that well-being levels during childhood has on their psychological development and labour market outcomes later in adulthood, calls for a closer examination of this topic. To do so, we also exploit the MCS, which contains a very complete set of children's well-being outcomes and the intensity of the engagement of mothers with the labour market. To our knowledge, this is the first paper to use such a full array of children's well-being indicators and relate it to maternal labour supply. Our results show that in households in which mothers work fulltime, children are, on average, happier, less worried, as well as less likely to lose their temper. Further, we investigate whether child obesity, which has been related to children's well-being, is associated to the mother's working hours, the mother's commuting time and the father's employment status. We find that higher the number of working hours of the mother increases the likelihood of the child being obese at 7 and 11 years of age, in line with previous literature. This chapter is co-authored with Prof. Jofre-Bonet and Dr. Serra-Sastre.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Divisions: City University London PhD theses
School of Social Sciences > Department of Economics
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/19371

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