Eliciting Maternal Knowledge about the Technology of Skill Formation

This research project collects data that measures maternal knowledge about the impacts of investments on child development and estimates the role such knowledge plays in the determination of economic and social inequality.

If maternal beliefs about the impact of investments on child development vary by maternal racial background or schooling, then current economic models of human capital formation are potentially misleading because they rely on the assumption that such heterogeneity in maternal knowledge does not exist. This project develops a methodology to measure beliefs about economic fundamentals that are typically assumed to be known by individuals in the economy. The study generates new insights about maternal beliefs that can help guide public policies and interventions designed to reduce disparities in child development and identify population subgroups that would benefit the most from such interventions.