Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Economics, PhD


School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Robert Klitgaard

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Melissa Rogers

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Tom Kniesner

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Rights Information

© 2023 Benjamin J Smith


Economics, Parenting

Subject Categories



Policies like universal preschool and The American Families Plan have brought attention to the need to invest in child development. Research has shown that such investments, when evaluated over the long run, provide large rates of return not just to families but to society. However, the effect of policies directed at children ultimately depends on the way parents respond to these policies. Therefore, in order to design policies effectively, the complex nature of parenting must be considered. In this dissertation, I analyze the impact of parental behavior and traits on child outcomes as well as the influences of specific parental behaviors and traits. I use two data sets and economic theory to add clarity to this important problem.



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