Parental misbeliefs and household investment in children's education

Haining Wang, Zhiming Cheng*, Russell Smyth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We examine the effect of parental misbeliefs about their child's academic achievement on household investment in children's education in China. We find that nearly 60% of parents hold inaccurate beliefs about their child's educational performance. Parental upward biased beliefs are positively associated with both financial and time investment in their children's education. The results for financial and time investment are mainly driven by paternal and maternal upward biased beliefs, respectively, reflecting differences in credit and time constraints on each parent. We find that parental educational expectations, confidence in their child's future and parenting style are underlying mechanisms through which parental misbeliefs affect household education investment. Our findings suggest that mistaken parental beliefs may have an important role to play in narrowing educational inequality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102284
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalEconomics of Education Review
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Children
  • China
  • Household education expenditure
  • Parental misbeliefs
  • Parental time investment


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