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Four essays on the formation of human capital

Feinstein, Leon; (1999) Four essays on the formation of human capital. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The thesis is concerned with human capital formation. The effects of different aspects of families and other institutions in the formation of human capital are assessed but human capital is studied in a more broad sense than hitherto in the economics literature. The first paper develops a time allocation model to see whether the attainments of children depend on pre-school participation. When analysis deals with the endogeneity resulting from the pre-school participation decision, one finds that any initial positive effects of early 1960s participation were lost by age eleven. Children, who were in preschools in the 1970s, performed worse in tests if they spent time in pre-school rather than with parents or other adults. The second paper finds that infant development is a significant signal of final education qualifications. The strongest factor associated with early success is maternal education, particularly degrees, suggesting that interactions with the mother in early life have important implications for economic welfare. Differences in the educational quality of these interactions are, in part, responsible for later educational and hence economic inequality. The third paper finds that the dominant factor in age 16 attainment is the interest taken by parents in the education of children. This dwarfs the effect of standard proxies for the domestic environment such as paternal occupational classifications and suggests that analyses such as those of OFSTED into the effects of schools must take account of this aspect of family background. The final paper shows that hourly wages do not depend only on academic abilities developed in childhood but also on the psychological and behavioural capital built up by age ten, such as self-esteem and 'social behaviour'. The economic returns to investments in schooling, therefore, should not be conceived solely in terms of the production of academic ability.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Four essays on the formation of human capital
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Social sciences; Capital; Human
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10100194
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