Family determinants of early childhood well-being: Three studies from Chile

Daniela Marshall, University of Pennsylvania


This dissertation explores how different family background variables are related with child development and child well-being. The first chapter documents an association between socioeconomic status of the family and child's cognitive development, this association decreases with the inclusion of mother's cognitive ability and parenting quality, but does not disappear. It also documents that the associations are different for different age groups. The second chapter emphasizes the importance of investments made by parents in children at young ages, specifically on the effect of maternal employment on the children's process of cognitive acquisition. Using instrumental variables to account for the endogeneity of the parental inputs, this chapter documents a negative association between maternal employment and children's cognitive achievement at very early stages of rearing, but at older ages the association is positive. The third chapter examines the role of household structure in terms of number and biological relatedness of the parents, presence of a grandmother, and number of siblings, in the obesity status of children aged 2-7 years old. This study documents that children living with grandmothers are more likely to be obese, whereas children living with older siblings face a lower risk of obesity, even when controlling by a number of socioeconomic, demographic, and maternal health factors.

Subject Area

Early childhood education|Individual & family studies|Public policy|Demography

Recommended Citation

Marshall, Daniela, "Family determinants of early childhood well-being: Three studies from Chile" (2015). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3709514.