Centre for Development Economics
Department of Economics

Delhi School of Economics


Educational Investments in Low-Income Households: The Role of Parental Occupational Identity and Substitutability


Aparna Anand
(Columbia University)

 (Thursday, 27 July, 3:15 PM IST)
Venue: Amex Room 


Poor parents face difficult trade-offs when investing in their children’s education. This paper studies how low-income urban households in Southern India, where child labor is a concern, make educational investments for their children. First, I build a model that shows how educational investments are shaped by the possibility of children substituting labor for their parents. Second, I collect parent surveys, child surveys, and student-level administrative data from schools and construct a linked dataset. Third, I examine the relationship between educational investments and several pertinent factors, with an emphasis on child labor substitution and the strength of occupational identity. I find that monetary investments in education are negatively correlated with both child substitution and the strength of a parent’s occupational identity. The qualitative measurement of time investments are negatively correlated with a parent’s occupational identity. Parents who have high aspirations for their children invest significantly more time in their children’s education. Children who are highly motivated spend more time in school and study-related activities. Also, children for whom occupation is important for their own identity perform better at school. I propose plausible mechanisms underlying these patterns. My findings highlight the role these unconventional variables play in understanding barriers to educational investments by low-income households.

All are cordially invited.

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