Dynamics of Early Cognitive and Behavioural Development

Publication type

Conference Paper


Dondena Centre, University of Milan


Publication date

September 23, 2008


There is growing evidence that differences in children’s intellectual, emotional and behavioural development by parents’ socio-economic status emerge at early ages and that these differences cast a long shadow over subsequent achievements. This paper shows, with the British Millennium Cohort Study, that differences by parents’ income group in cognitive and behavioural development emerge by the child’s third birthday and persist at age 5. It estimates a dynamic production function model for the impact of ‘what parents do’ in terms of educational activities and parenting style on cognitive development up to age 5. Using these estimates, it appears that part of the differences in cognitive assessments at age 5 by income group can be accounted for by ‘what parents do’ in terms of educational activities and parenting style, particularly through age 3.



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