Now showing 1 - 10 of 46
  • Publication
    Measuring Investment in Human Capital Formation: An Experimental Analysis of Early Life Outcomes
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2013-08) ; ; ; ;
    The literature on skill formation and human capital development clearly demonstrates that early investment in children is an equitable and efficient policy with large returns in adulthood. Yet little is known about the mechanisms involved in producing these long-term effects. This paper presents early evidence on the nature of skill formation based on an experimentally designed, five-year home visiting program in Ireland targeting disadvantaged families - Preparing for Life (PFL). We examine the impact of investment between utero to 18 months of age on a range of parental and child outcomes. Using the methodology of Heckman et al. (2010a), permutation testing methods and a stepdown procedure are applied to account for the small sample size and the increased likelihood of false discoveries when examining multiple outcomes. The results show that the program impact is concentrated on parental behaviors and the home environment, with little impact on child development at this early stage. This indicates that home visiting programs can be effective at offsetting deficits in parenting skills within a relatively short timeframe, yet continued investment may be required to observe direct effects on child development. While correcting for attrition bias leads to some changes in the precision of estimates, overall the results are quite similar.
      569
  • Publication
    Early intervention and child health: Evidence from a Dublin-based randomized controlled trial
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2015-04) ; ; ;
    This article investigates the impact of an early intervention program, which experimentally modifies the parenting and home environment of disadvantaged families, on child health in the first 3 years of life. We recruited and randomized 233 (115 intervention, 118 control) pregnant women from a socioeconomically disadvantaged community in Dublin, Ireland into an intervention or control group. The treatment includes regular home visits commencing antenatally and an additional parenting course commencing at 2 years. Maternal reports of child health are assessed at 6, 12, 18, 24, and 36 months. Treatment effects are estimated using permutation testing to account for small sample size, inverse probability weighting to account for differential attrition, and the stepdown procedure to account for multiple hypothesis testing. Following adjustment for multiple testing and attrition, we observe a positive and statistically significant main treatment effect for wheezing/asthma. The intervention group are 15.5 percentage points (pp) less likely to require medical attention for wheezing/asthma compared to the control group. Statistically significant individual main effects which do not survive multiple testing and IPW-adjustment are found for general health (10.0 pp), hospitalizations (8.2 pp), immunizations (8.6 pp), chest infections (12.2 pp) and the number of health problems (d = 0.34). Subgroup analysis reveals more statistically significant adjusted treatment effects for boys than girls regarding fewer health problems (d = 0.63), accidents (23.9 pp), and chest infections (22.8 – 37.9 pp). Our results suggest that a community-based home visiting program may have favorable impacts on early health conditions. As child ill health is costly to society due to an increased demand on health resources and long-term productivity losses, identifying effective interventions to counteract inequalities in health is important from a policy perspective.
      148
  • Publication
    The impact of parental income and education on child health : further evidence for England
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2007-02-01) ; ;
    This paper investigates the robustness of recent findings on the effect of parental education and income on child health. We are particularly concerned about spurious correlation arising from the potential endogeneity of parental income and education. Using an instrumental variables approach, our results suggest that the parental income and education effects are generally larger than are suggested by the correlations observed in the data. Moreover, we find strong support for the causal effect of income being large for the poor, but small at the average level of income.
      980
  • Publication
    The impact of parental income and education on the health of their children
    (Institute for the Study of Labor, 2005-11) ; ;
    This paper investigates the robustness of recent findings on the effect of parental background on child health. We are particularly concerned with the extent to which their finding that income effects on child health are the result of spurious correlation rather than some causal mechanism. A similar argument can be made for the effect of education - if parental education and child health are correlated with some common unobservable (say, low parental time preference) then least squares estimates of the effect of parental education will be biased upwards. Moreover, it is very common for parental income data to be grouped, in which case income is measured with error and the coefficient on income will be biased towards zero and there are good reasons why the extent of bias may vary with child age. Fixed effect estimation is undermined by measurement error and here we adopt the traditional solution to both spurious correlation and measurement error and use an instrumental variables approach. Our results suggest that the income effects observed in the data are spurious.
      320
  • Publication
    Measuring the relationship between voter turnout and health in Ireland
    (University College Dublin; School of Economics, 2006-10) ;
    Health issues are an integral part of the political agenda in Ireland. Yet no study to date has examined the direct impact of health concerns on political outcomes. This study investigates the impact of health, both physical and psychological, and perceptions of the health service on voter turnout in Ireland using the European Social Survey in 2005. The results show that individuals with poor subjective health are significantly less likely to vote in a General Election. Dissatisfaction with the health service is also associated with a lower probability of voting. However these effects interact: those with poor health and who are dissatisfied with the health service are more likely to vote. Psychological well-being has no effect on voter turnout. The health effects identified in this study are large. Therefore, given the PR electoral system in Ireland, small changes in voter turnout could have dramatic consequences for electoral outcomes.
      434
  • Publication
    The Impact of Terrorism on Well-being: Evidence from the Boston Marathon Bombing
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2017-08-25) ; ;
    A growing literature concludes that terrorism impacts the economy, yet less is known about its impact on utility. This paper estimates the impact of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing on well-being, by exploiting representative U.S. daily data. Using both a regression discontinuity and an event study design, whereby the 2012 Boston marathon serves as a counterfactual, we find a sharp reduction in well-being, equivalent to a two percentage point rise in annual unemployment. The effect is stronger for women and those living in nearby States, but does not persist beyond one week, thus demonstrating the resilience of well-being to terrorism.
      104
  • Publication
    Unravelling voters’ perceptions of the economy
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2010-01)
    Individual perceptions of the economy are a key factor influencing voting decisions, yet they often deviate from movements in the real economy. This study investigates the formation of economic perceptions during a period of economic and political instability in the Czech Republic using a series of Economic Expectations and Attitude (EEA) surveys and yearly regional economic indicators. It measures the extent to which retrospective and prospective perceptions are related to objective measures of the economy and subjective heterogeneity at an individual level. The study finds that objective economic indicators are inadequate determinants of economic perceptions and that such perceptions can be distorted by ideological beliefs, socioeconomic characteristics and personal experiences despite turbulent economic shocks, a highly politicized economic reform process and weak party identification.
      251
  • Publication
    Early intervention and child health: Evidence from a Dublin-based randomized controlled trial
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2015-04) ; ; ;
    This article investigates the impact of an early intervention program, which experimentally modifies the parenting and home environment of disadvantaged families, on child health in the first 3 years of life. We recruited and randomized 233 (115 intervention, 118 control) pregnant women from a socioeconomically disadvantaged community in Dublin, Ireland into an intervention or control group. The treatment includes regular home visits commencing antenatally and an additional parenting course commencing at 2 years. Maternal reports of child health are assessed at 6, 12, 18, 24, and 36 months. Treatment effects are estimated using permutation testing to account for small sample size, inverse probability weighting to account for differential attrition, and the stepdown procedure to account for multiple hypothesis testing. Following adjustment for multiple testing and attrition, we observe a positive and statistically significant main treatment effect for wheezing/asthma. The intervention group are 15.5 percentage points (pp) less likely to require medical attention for wheezing/asthma compared to the control group. Statistically significant individual main effects which do not survive multiple testing and IPW-adjustment are found for general health (10.0 pp), hospitalizations (8.2 pp), immunizations (8.6 pp), chest infections (12.2 pp) and the number of health problems (d = 0.34). Subgroup analysis reveals more statistically significant adjusted treatment effects for boys than girls regarding fewer health problems (d = 0.63), accidents (23.9 pp), and chest infections (22.8 – 37.9 pp). Our results suggest that a communitybased home visiting program may have favorable impacts on early health conditions. As child ill health is costly to society due to an increased demand on health resources and long-term productivity losses, identifying effective interventions to counteract inequalities in health is important from a policy perspective.
      182
  • Publication
    The distribution of well-being in Ireland
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2007-01-26) ; ; ;
    Objectives: There is a substantial knowledge gap about the distribution of mental heath in community populations. The European Social Survey is particularly useful as it contains information on over 40,000 individuals, including 2,286 Irish adults. The objective of this study is to conduct a large scale statistical analysis to examine the distribution and determinants of mental well-being in a large representative sample of the Irish population. Method: Analysis of the European Social Survey using robust multiple linear and non-linear regression techniques. The data-set contains WHO-5 scores and subjective well-being for a sample of 2,286 Irish people interviewed in their homes in 2005. Results: Ireland has the second highest average WHO-5 score among the 22 countries in the European Social Survey. Multiple linear regression analysis across the distribution of WHO-5 reveals a well-being gradient largely related to education and social capital variables. A probit model examining the determinants of vulnerability to psychiatric morbidity reveals that a similar set of factors predict scores below the threshold point on the WHO-5 scale. Conclusions: The results are consistent with marked differences in mental well-being across education levels and variables relating to social capital factors. Such indicators provide a useful index for policy-makers and researchers. However, much further work is needed to identify causal mechanisms generating observed differences in mental health across different socioeconomic groups.
      1118
  • Publication
    Voice of the diaspora : an analysis of migrant voting behaviour
    (University of Michigan Business School, William Davidson Institute, 2004-07) ;
    This paper utilizes a unique dataset on votes cast by Czech and Polish migrants in their recent national elections to investigate the impact of institutional, political and economic characteristics on migrants’ voting behavior. The political preferences of migrants are strikingly different from those of their domestic counterparts. In addition, there are also important differences among migrants living in different countries. This paper examines three alternative hypotheses to explain migrant voting behavior: adaptive learning; economic self-selection and political selfselection. The results of the analysis suggest that migrant voting behavior is affected by the institutional environment of the host countries, in particular the tradition of democracy and the extent of economic freedom. In contrast, there is little evidence that differences in migrants’ political attitudes are caused by self-selection based either on economic motives or political attitudes prior to migrating. These results are interpreted as indicating that migrants’ political preferences change in the wake of migration as they adapt to the norms and values prevailing in their surroundings.
      497