The Dispersion of Intra-Household Human Capital Across Children: A Measurement Strategy and Evidence
Horowitz, Andrew W.
Portela Souza, Andre
Human capital accumulation has long been recognized as critical to economic growth and development. In recent years focus on the intra-household distribution of human capital has intensified both theoretically and empirically. However, connecting the theoretical and empirical literature has been impeded by the difficulty in measuring human intra-household capital levels Â particularly for children in the midst of the accumulation process. In this paper we approach this issue using the intra-household dispersion of the rate of progress through the education system as a proxy for the final dispersion of intra-household human capital. Focusing on intra-household dispersion avoids many of the problematic issues associated with measures of human capital levels. Using Brazilian data we identify a previously unreported relationship between the intra-household dispersion of this observable human capital (OHK) and household income. We explore various explanations and implications of this pattern, and argue that this relationship is consistent with the inefficient distribution of intra-household human capital suggested by recent theoretical work.