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Title: Parents, children, and non-cognitive skills
Author: Tavares, Lara Patricio
ISNI:       0000 0004 2679 6078
Awarding Body: The University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2009
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Non-cognitive skills are the centerpiece of this thesis which consists of two parts. Part I looks at the relationship between non-cognitive skills and educational attainment as well as at the development of non-cognitive skills, in particular at the role played by parenting practices. Part II focuses on the relationship between non-cognitive skills and fertility timing. The measures of non-cognitive skills used in Parts I and II are attitude towards learning - a measure obtained by factor analysis using insights from the five-factor model of personality - and the Big Five personality traits, respectively. Using both the BHPS and AddHealth, attitude towards learning is found to be an important determinant of educational 'success, thereby adding to the empirical evidence on the importance of non-cognitive skills in explaining educational attainment. The importance of this particular non-cognitive skill also shows that children's own attitudes or behaviours matter for their academic success. The results also show a statistically significant association between parenting practices and both educational attainment and formation of attitude towards learning. Having rules at home and children's rapport with the family is associated with higher educational qualifications and it also fosters the development of a pro-learn'ing attitude. In face of these results, one can say that parenting practices might be a considerable source of inequality of opportunity. The results in Part II show that personality traits contribute to the differences in fertility timing between more and less educated women in two different ways: first, personality traits influence both education and fertility decisions; and second, more educated women do not equally delay childbirth compared with less educated women: the more 'open-minded' are the ones severely postponing childbearing. This thesis shows that non-cognitive skills are an important source of heterogeneity - one that is usually not taken into account.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available