This essay explores the possibilities of using structural equation modelling to measure capabilities of Italian children. In particular we focus on two capabilities: “Senses, Imagination and Thought” and “Leisure and Play Activities ”. The indicators used to measure the capability of ‘Senses, imagination and thought’ for 6-13 years old children are attitude towards education, attendance to arts classes and other type of extra curriculum classes like computing and languages. The variables used as indicators of the capability of “Leisure and play activities” include how often children play in playground, various types of games, attendance to sports classes. We use structural equation model in order to investigate the relation among the above mentioned indicators, the latent construct for capabilities and a set of covariates. We apply a Multiple Indicator Multiple Causes model (MIMIC) that allows the use of multiple indicators of the analysed capabilities and at the same time allows us to analyse the effects of some covariates on children’s capabilities.Moreover we use a new data set in order to include family income among the covariates. The data result from the matching (through a propensity score method) of two data sets: Bank of Italy Survey on Income and Wealth for year 2000 and Istat Families, social subjects and childhood condition for year 1998.A main implication of our results is the strong gender effect in Italy: being a boy implies both a negative effect on the capability of Senses Imagination and Thought and a positive effect on Leisure and playing activities. These two capabilities are also negatively affected by the number of siblings in the household, after having controlled for family income and parents hours of paid and unpaid work. After controlling for parents education, family income looses importance in determining children capabilities.
Children's Capabilities and Family Characteristics in Italy: Measuring Imagination and Play / Addabbo, Tindara; DI TOMMASO, M. L.. - STAMPA. - (2011), pp. 222-242. [10.1057/9780230308374]