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CEP Discussion Paper
Locus of Control and Its Intergenerational Implications for Early Childhood Skill formation
Francesca Cornaglia, Warn N. Lekfuangfu, Nattavudh Powdthavee and Nele Warrinnier August 2014
Paper No' CEPDP1293:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: J01; I31

Tags: locus of control; parental investment; human capital accumulation; early skill formation; alspac

We propose a model in which parents have a subjective belief about the impact of their investment on the early skill formation of their children. This subjective belief is determined in part by locus of control (LOC), i.e., the extent to which individuals believe that their actions can influence future outcomes. Using a unique British cohort survey, we show that maternal LOC measured during the 1st-trimester strongly predicts early and late child cognitive and noncognitive outcomes. Further, we utilize the variation in maternal LOC to improve the specification typically used in the estimation of parental investment effects on child development.