COLLOQUIUM Susanne Schmid.- Maternal Age and Non-/Cognitive Child Development: New Evidence From Germany

Organitza: Centre d'Estudis Demogràfics

Lloc: Semipresencial

Hora: 12:00 - 13:00


Title.- Maternal Age and Non-/Cognitive Child Development: New Evidence From Germany


Presencial: Sala Àngels Torrents, CED

Codi: 1984


Abstract.- The gender revolution in maternal employment led to advanced maternal age at first birth, which plays a well-documented role for augmented child ability in the US. However, the evidence is scarcer for Europe, where teenage motherhood is less common and institutional settings are distinct. Therefore, we provide first evidence for Germany by investigating (1) whether higher maternal age benefits child development (direct relation) and (2) through which mechanisms higher maternal age benefits child development across various developmental stages (indirect relation). Drawing on insights from family formation research, the theory of child development and human capital, on the one hand, we argue that advanced maternal age is associated with higher human capital accumulation, which is likely to be the driving factor for child promotion, rather than age itself being the direct, causal factor. On the other hand, we expect that these larger capital stocks, accompanied by increased maternal age and maturity, arguably enhance parenting skills and well- being, which benefits the child. We use multiple waves based on the Newborn Cohort of the German National Educational Panel Study for our analysis of cognitive and non-cognitive child outcomes (NEPS-SC1; 2012-2021; N min ≈2,166). Preliminary results from linear regression show significant associations between maternal age at birth and cognitive child abilities (math, vocabulary) and socio-emotional behavior of the child. As expected, we demonstrate that enhanced cognitive abilities are largely attributable to parenting quality, well-being, and family resources that mainly explain the often-observed age effect. Effect heterogeneity models by education show that the positive relation of maternal age and cognitive child outcomes is rather valid for mothers with lower education, whereas for non-cognitive outcomes older age at birth is only beneficial for children of higher educated mothers. Finally, we contribute by presenting first evidence that challenges the existing literature on beneficial effects of maternal age itself.