Three Essays on Parental Health and Children’s Outcomes
Chen, Ke (Kelly)
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Does a parent’s illness or disability hurt the educational attainment of their children? This dissertation consists of three essays on the impact of negative health events / activity limitation experienced by parents on their children’s human capital, and how the negative consequences of parental illness can be mediated by public policy. The first essay uses the 1991-2006 Chinese Health and Nutrition Survey and finds poor Chinese children whose parent has a serious illness are much more likely to drop out of primary or secondary school compared to other children whose parents remain healthy. The second essay, using Canada’s 1994-2008 NLSCY, discovers a similar “attendance gap” at the post-secondary level between Canadian youth of disabled parents and their peers of non-disabled parents. Finally, the third essay demonstrates that higher cash transfers made available to parents with a disability can boost children’s math test performance and facilitate non-cognitive skill development.