Parental health and children’s cognitive and non-cognitive development

New evidence from the Longitudinal Survey of Australian Children
JournalHealth Economics
AuthorsHa Nguyen, Huong Thu Le
PublishedFebruary 2017
PublisherWiley Online Library

This paper examines the effects of parental health on cognitive and non-cognitive development in Australian children. The underlying nationally representative panel data and a child fixed effects estimator are used to deal with unobserved heterogeneity. We find that only father’s serious mental illness worsens selected cognitive and non-cognitive skills of children. Maternal poor health also deteriorates some cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes of children of lone mothers only. Our results demonstrate that either failing to account for parent-child fixed effects or using child non-cognitive skills reported by parents could overestimate the harmful impact of poor parental health on child development.