Cash Transfers and Parent-Child Interaction
Differences in academic achievement between high and low socioeconomic status (SES) children arise at a very early age. Understanding the factors that give rise to these differences is essential for understanding the intergenerational transmission of poverty. This project tests the idea that the psychological experience of poverty leads parents to engage less with their young children, hampering early child development. We focus on parents’ verbal interactions with children, which differ markedly by SES in observational data, and are the most prominent proxy for parental engagement in developmental psychology. We leverage a cash transfer intervention among households in Oakland, CA, to examine impacts on verbal interactions within the household. The pilot will be comprised of 100 low-income, predominantly Black and Latinx households, including young adult mothers—a population whose financial strain has been elevated by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 recession.