The Effects of Parenting on Noncognitive Skills: Evidence From a Sample of Twins in Germany

Michael Grätz, Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI), Stockholm University
Volker Lang, University of Bielefeld
Bastian Mönkediek, University of Bielefeld
Martin Diewald , University of Bielefeld

We use data from the German TwinLife study to estimate the causal effects of both parenting styles and parental activities on a variety of children’s noncognitive skills. To control for unobserved heterogeneity and reverse causality, we combine twin fixed-effects models with longitudinal information. Moreover, we run separate analyses for MZ and DZ twins to rule out child’s genetic variation influencing the effects of parenting. This approach allows us to estimate the causal effects of parenting styles and parental activities on children’s noncognitive skills better than most other studies. Overall, we find little evidence that parenting styles and parental activities affect the development of children’ noncognitive skills, challenging optimistic views about the impact of parenting on child development. We conclude that the relationship between parenting and child development is more complex than both theories and empirical research have so far acknowledged.

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 Presented in Session 95. Parenting and Child Development in International Contexts