Locus of control and its intergenerational implications for early childhood skill formation

Produced by: 
London School of Economics
Available from: 
December 2016
Paper author(s): 
Warn N. Lekfuangfu
Nattavudh Powdthavee
Nele Warrinnier
Francesca Cornaglia
Topic: 
Education - Health
Year: 
2018

This paper builds upon Cunha’s (2015) subjective rationality model in which parents have a subjective belief about the impact of their investment on the early skill formation of their children. We propose that 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. Consistent with the theory, we show that maternal LOC measured at the 12th week of gestation strongly predicts maternal attitudes towards parenting style, maternal time investments, as well as early and late cognitive outcomes. We also utilize the variation in inputs and outputs by maternal LOC to help improve the specification typically used in the estimation of skill production function parameters.

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