An Economic Exploration of Sex, Marriage and Family
Chapter 23: Parental behaviours and the quality of children
It is widely recognized that children's behaviour in general and their study efforts in particular matter greatly to their educational attainment. Chapter 22 showed that students' study effort may be closely related to their intelligence. However, it may not be the only determinant. In particular, children's good habits may also matter greatly to their future career success, and parents can often play an important role in guiding children to behave well and develop good habits. What can parents do to induce good behaviour and diligent study efforts from their children? In Fan (2008), I provide an answer to this question by suggesting that parental behaviour can affect children's 'social capital', which in turn influences their cognitive and non- cognitive development. While Fan (2008) focuses on parents' religious participation, the essential idea can be applied to their other social behaviours. In a seminal contribution to sociology, Coleman (1988) emphasizes that social capital greatly affects an individual's human capital formation. Along this line of research, in Fan (2008) I analyse an important and largely ignored form of social capital in the creation of human capital: religion. I argue there that many people participate in religious activities not only due to their religious beliefs, but also because religion is conducive to their children's human capital formation. A number of empirical studies show consistently that religion has a significant positive effect on children's educational attainment and future earnings. Further, sociologists' extensive research indicates that youths raised in religious homes are less likely to engage in criminal activity, use drugs or alcohol and have premarital sex.
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.