The St. Louis Federal Reserve isn’t exactly Dr. Spock but you’ll not likely find more proof of the value of parents spending time with kids than its study in this quarter’s “Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review.”
It studied the impact of parental involvement, ability, and education on the success of children.
Much of it isn’t surprising: Highly educated parents tend to have highly educated children, and highly educated children, tend to have success in life. The reverse, of course, is also true.
So what’s the best way to have success in life? Education.
How to make that happen? The Fed puts hard numbers behind an assertion that it’s spending more time with your kids.
When a father increases his time investment from low to the average while the mother is at the average, the probability that the child graduates from college increases by 13 percent, the researchers said. When a mother increases her time investment from low to average while the father is at the average, the probability of a child graduating from college increases by 16 percent.
— St. Louis Fed (@stlouisfed) August 28, 2018
In a household where both parents are high school dropouts, a daughter would have a 3 percent chance of graduating from college if the mother spends an average amount of time with her and a father spends a comparatively low amount of time in the first five years of life. The chance of graduating from college increases to 16 percent if the father increases his time investment to the average while the mother’s time investment remains at the sample average.
That seems to be pretty much true across all household types, the study said.
The Fed accounted for differences in parental education, skills, and income, which most people wouldn’t think are anything to sneeze at.
But the study said it could find no evidence for the importance of income in early childhood on children’s eventual educational attainment, although it looked only at the effect of income in the first five years of a child’s life, pretty much before having the advantage of a big income would be mostly likely to yield big advantages.
The study also confirmed that girls are more likely to eventually graduate from college, although it didn’t answer the question why.
(h/t: Paul Tosto)