Seife Dendir, an associate professor of economics at Radford University, will further his research into parental human capital investment decisions as a visiting scholar this summer at the United Nations University's World Institute for Development Economics Research (WIDER) in Helsinki, Finland.
Dendir won a fellowship from the WIDER to continue his study of parents in developing countries and their decisions about how to invest in their children, whether to send them to school versus work. Part of the decision-making process may be based on children's cognitive abilities, the professor noted.
There is considerable variation in children’s school status in developing countries, Dendir said. Many children go to school full time with no work obligations inside or outside the home. Others combine school with work. A number of children are full-time workers, while others are idle, neither in school nor at work.
In his research, Dendir is trying to determine whether parents precondition their decisions to invest in a child based on the child’s ability or intelligence in addition to standard variables such as the household’s financial conditions.
"There's an age-old question in economics about the determinants of parental investment in children's human capital, where the focus has been on household-level determinants such as wealth or the parents' education," Dendir said. "Attention is now shifting to non-standard child-level characteristics, for example, how children's perceived ability influences parents' decisions on whether to send them to school or work as well as target or desired schooling outcomes. This is interesting because it suggests children from the same household may receive different levels of investment."
The College of Business and Economics professor's research this summer will be based on data collected from an ongoing 15-year survey of childhood poverty conducted by the Department of International Development at the University of Oxford in England.
Prahlad Kasturi, chair of COBE's Department of Economics, said, "The UNU-WIDER research fellowship awarded to Seife is a great honor not only to him but also to the Department of Economics and is one more hallmark of distinction recognizing the quality of research being done by professors in the College of Business and Economics at Radford. To the extent that human capital is accumulated through an investment in children's education during a time period when the decision lies largely with parents, Seife's research will shed light on the parental decision-making process in developing countries."
Dendir joined the Department of Economics in 2005. His teaching and research areas are in economic development, applied microeconomics and econometrics. His research has focused on risk-sharing networks in poor urban areas, child schooling and labor, household credit access and intra-household resource allocation issues in developing economies. The professor has published development economics research in various notable academic journals.
Learn more about Radford University at www.radford.edu.