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CEP discussion paper

Locus of Control and Its Intergenerational Implications for Early Childhood Skill Formation


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.


Francesca Cornaglia, Warn N. Lekfuangfu, Nattavudh Powdthavee and Nele Warrinnier

18 August 2014     Paper Number CEPDP1293

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This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Community Wellbeing programme.