Rochester economist to discuss children’s academic performance and parental involvement

Release Date: November 26, 2014

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Josh Kinsler, assistant professor of economics at the University of Rochester, will discuss his study, “Distorted Beliefs and Parental Investment in Children,” as part of the University at Buffalo Department of Economics’ seminar series on Friday, Dec. 5, at 3:30 p.m. in 444 Fronczak Hall on the UB North Campus.

The originally scheduled date was postponed due to the November snowstorm.

The seminar series is free and open to the public.

Local schools are not giving accurate assessments to parents regarding the academic performance of their students, Kinsler says.

His preliminary research shows that parents have inaccurate perceptions of their child’s ability in the early years of elementary school, believing that children who rank high in their local school also, by extension, rank equally highly relative to other students on a state or national level.

As a result, these parents are less likely to spend time helping their children with homework and are also less likely to dedicate other resources to their kids’ education, such as hiring tutors, Kinsler says.

Because students tend to receive school assignments based on perceived ability, these distorted beliefs can widen the gaps in student outcomes, he adds.

Since 1999, the UB Department of Economics’ seminar series has given faculty, researchers and others an open forum to discuss pressing economic issues. A list of previous speakers can be found at To learn more about the UB Department of Economics, visit

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