Marinella Leone on What drives parental investments in early childhood

WIDER Seminar Series

Marinella Leone on What drives parental investments in early childhood

Marinella Leone presents at the WIDER Seminar Series on 08 February 2023.

What drives parental investments in early childhood? Experimental evidence from a video intervention in Rwanda

Co-authors: P. Justino, P. Rolla, M. Abimpaye, and S. Malik


This paper investigates the causal impact of a randomized intervention designed to study the determinants of parental time investments in early childhood among low-income parents.

We designed and screened a video that provided information and conveyed persuasive messages about the importance of parental investments in children. In a second video, we added a positive feedback message to parents about their accomplishments during their participation in an earlier parenting information. This additional information about concrete achievements intended to affect parental self-efficacy beliefs.

We find that the provision of positive feedback improves maternal time investment by 0.2 SD. The provision of just information and persuasive messages was not enough to shift parental behaviors without the addition of positive feedback.

We explore the potential sources of these changes and document a weak impact of the treatments on parental self-efficacy and knowledge beliefs. The results show, however, a significant positive effect of the treatments on an indicator of perceived social support within the community.

About the presenter

Marinella Leone is Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics and Management at the University of Pavia in Italy. She is an applied development economist. Her more recent research focuses on the study of early child development parenting programs, the development of social skills in primary school children and gender-based violence.  In previous research she investigated the short, long-term and intergenerational impact of conflicts on health, education and domestic violence. She also studied the role of women in natural resource management institutions and child labor in Nepal. She has published her work in top tier journals in economics and development economics.  She collaborated on projects in DRC and Niger studying education programs in conflict and fragile settings and worked as consultant for Unicef and the World Bank. Her work is funded by the British Academy, JPAL-Europe, DFID, EuropAid DevCo.

WIDER Seminar Series

The WIDER Seminar Series showcases the latest research on key topics in development economics. It provides a forum for senior and early-career researchers, both in-house and external, to present recent and ongoing work related to UNU-WIDER’s current work programme.

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