Locus of Control and its Intergenerational Implications for Early Childhood Skill Formation Articles uri icon

publication date

  • February 2018

start page

  • 298

end page

  • 329


  • 608


  • 128

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0013-0133

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1468-0297


  • This article builds upon Cunha's (2015) subjective rationality model in which parents have a subjective belief about the impact of their investment on their children's early skill formation. We propose that this subjective belief is determined partly by locus of control (LOC), i.e. the extent to which individuals believe that their actions can influence future outcomes. Consistent with the theory, we show that maternal LOC measured at the 12th week of gestation strongly predicts maternal attitudes towards parenting style and actual time investments. We also utilise maternal LOC to improve the specification typically used to estimate skill production function parameters.


  • cunha; inequalities; earnings; health; social mobility; economy; locus of control; parental investment; human capital accumulation; early; skill formation; alspac