Essays in Family Economics

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

96 Downloads (Pure)


Understanding the patterns of household formation and decision-making is vital for the design of policies to successfully improve welfare. This is the central theme of my thesis which consists of two chapters, the connecting theme across the two chapters is the of use high-powered structural econometric modelling of complex equilibria in household settings.
In the first chapter, I study the development of child academic skills through adolescence in anticipation of entry to university in South Korea. I look at how heterogeneity in initial household income and child academic skills affects parents' decisions to invest in private education for their children, and how the resulting choices contribute to inequality in university admissions, and also to lower social mobility in terms of lifetime earnings. I allow for interactions between the academic skills that enter the human capital production functions. Understanding these skill complementarities is crucial for policy design. I then place the estimated human capital production functions within an equilibrium framework in order to account for the fact that places at the top universities are highly attractive but also limited. As a result, parents' decisions depend on their expectations about the investments made by other households. Competition is particularly detrimental to financially-constrained low-income households.
In the second chapter, we exploit the post-war immigration-induced regional variation in ethnic composition among British-born individuals to study inter-ethnic marriages in the UK. Black and Asian individuals are more likely to marry intra-ethnically in regions where the own ethnicity share is relatively large. In order to disentangle the relative roles played by supply effects, preferences and local social norms we estimate a structural equilibrium marriage market model that allows for conformity behaviour. Using the estimated model, we make predictions for a set of more recent cohorts whose marital choices are still to be completed.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Anderberg, Dan, Supervisor
  • Naef, Michael, Supervisor
Award date1 Mar 2021
Publication statusUnpublished - 2021


  • family economics, parental investments, marriage, ethnicity, university entry

Cite this