Choosing Children’s Environmental Risk
A model of endogenous risk provides a foundation to study a parent’s child care decisions when the child could be exposed to an environmental hazard (e.g., toxic substance, foodborne pathogen). The parent invests in childcare quality and quantity to reduce the likelihood of a hazard exposure occurring and to reduce its severity if the exposure is realized. We supply conditions to sign unambiguously the effects on a child’s hazard exposure of an increased probability a parent fails to access or have command over a technique of exposure prevention or that a technique is ineffective in preventing exposure. Also, we consider these effects when the parent is unsure what a technique can do to reduce the child’s probability of exposure. We conclude public policies designed to encourage use of a particular childcare technique, if childcare quality and quantity are stochastic substitutes, can reduce parental use of other techniques. The net impact of the policy could increase the chance the child suffers.