Children of Asian immigrants in most English-speaking destinations have better academic outcomes, yet the underlying causes of their advantages are under-studied. We employ panel time-use diaries by two cohorts of children observed over a decade to present new evidence that children of Asian immigrants begin spending more time than their peers on educational activities from school entry; and, that the ethnicity gap in the time allocated to educational activities increases over time. By specifying an augmented value-added model and invoking a quantile decomposition method, we find that the academic advantage of children of Asian immigrants is attributable mainly to their allocating more time to educational activities or their favorable initial cognitive abilities and not to socio-demographics or parenting styles. Furthermore, our results show substantial heterogeneity in the contributions of initial cognitive abilities and time allocations by test subjects, test ages and points of the test score distribution.
Francis Mitrou is currently Program Head – Population Health, where he oversees population health themed research at Telethon Kids Institute, including Research Teams such as Biostatistics, Child Epidemiology, and Linked Analytics and Social Policy. Alongside Professors Stephen Zubrick and Cate Taylor, Mr Mitrou is also Co-Head of the Human Capability Team at Telethon Kids Institute where he also has a Senior Research Fellow role in the ARC Life Course Centre. Francis has followed a non-traditional research career path, coming to academia via a 14-year career in the Commonwealth Public Service which intersected with high level consulting work to the academic sector via his employer. He is an economist initially trained at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in the 1990s on a range of economic and social survey vehicles before entering research full-time in the early 2000s via an ABS consultancy to Telethon Kids Institute. He has many years’ experience in the design, conduct and management of large scale population surveys of adults, children and Indigenous people. He has expertise in the use of linked administrative data for research, Indigenous health and wellbeing, and economic evaluation, with a focus on child and adolescent mental health, social disadvantage and life course trajectories. Francis has close involvement in the national discussion around use of Commonwealth data for research and policy across the human services and sits on the design committees of several national surveys of health and social wellbeing run by ABS. Francis leads the ARC Life Course Centre’s Data for Policy program which engages Commonwealth human services and data agencies in research activity. Francis is also a member of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s “Closing the Gap” technical advisory group which is focused on eliminating Indigenous disadvantage. His research goal is to make a positive difference in the lives of disadvantaged children and families through the application of a life course approach to human capability research, whereby targeted, evidence-based population intervention can help prevent entrenchment of costly disadvantage.
Dr Ha Nguyen joined the Telethon Kids Institute as a Senior Research Fellow in 2018. He received his PhD in economics from the Australian National University and has previously held academic and teaching appointments at the Australian National University, University of Queensland, University of New South Wales and Curtin University. He has published widely in both academic and policy outlets, with articles appearing in high-ranking economics journals, including Journal of International Economics, Health Economics, American Journal of Health Economics, Social Science & Medicine, Labour Economics, IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Development Studies and the Economic Record. The results of his research have been featured in numerous national and international media outlets. Ha has been awarded The Pacific Trade and Development Fellowship, one of the most distinguished fellowships available to young researchers in the field of trade and development. He also received the Curtin Faculty of Business and Law’s 2017 Article of the Year Award and Curtin Business School’s 2015 Article of the Year Award. He has collaborated on a number of research projects funded through grants awarded by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute and the Federal Department of Health. His general research interests have focused on applied econometrics, particularly in the fields of health economics and labour economics. His particular research interests and expertise cover a broad range of topics, including economic and social policy evaluation, intergenerational transmission in health and human capital, child development, mental health and wellbeing, the economics of informal care, health insurance, health care use, employment and labour market participation, population ageing, and the impact of macroeconomics (including exchange rates) and climate changes on individual behaviours.