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