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From Childhood to Adult Inequality: Parental Investments and Early Childhood Development

Diego Daruich ()

No 770, 2017 Meeting Papers from Society for Economic Dynamics

Abstract: Standard macroeconomic analysis of inequality focuses on the optimal choice of progressive taxation. However, early childhood environment has been shown to significantly impact adult outcomes. Using children's time diaries, we show that parental quality time with children is strongly associated with children's skills—which is later associated with their education. To compare the quantitative role of standard policies to ones that target early childhood, we extend the standard general-equilibrium heterogeneous-agent life-cycle model with earnings risk and credit constraints to allow for endogenous education, parental time and money investments towards children's skill development, and family transfers. The model includes two types of college majors: STEM and non-STEM. We evaluate three policies: progressive taxation, college tuition subsidies, and parenting education. Progressive taxation is the most effective at reducing disposable income inequality, but it does not promote the development of skills necessary to increase college graduation or social mobility. College subsidies promote only non-STEM graduation, since STEM is a better alternative only for high-skilled individuals. Parenting education is the most effective at increasing intergenerational mobility and the only one able to promote STEM graduation.

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Date: 2017
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More papers in 2017 Meeting Papers from Society for Economic Dynamics Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA. Contact information at EDIRC.
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