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Why the Apple Doesn't Fall: Understanding Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital

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  • Black, Sandra
  • Devereux, Paul J.
  • Salvanes, Kjell G

Abstract

Parents with higher education levels have children with higher education levels. Is this because parental education actually changes the outcomes of children, suggesting an important spillover of education policies, or is it merely that more able individuals who have higher education also have more able children? This Paper proposes to answer this question by using a unique dataset from Norway. Using the reform of the education system that was implemented in different municipalities at different times in the 1960s as an instrument for parental education, we find little evidence of a causal relationship between parents’ education and children’s education, despite significant OLS relationships. We find 2SLS estimates that are consistently lower than the OLS estimates with the only statistically significant effect being a positive relationship between mother's education and son's education. These findings suggest that the high correlations between parent’s and children’s education are due primarily to family characteristics and inherited ability and not education spillovers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4150.

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Date of creation: Dec 2003
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4150

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Keywords: education; educational reform; intergenerational mobility;

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References

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  1. Bound, John & Solon, Gary, 1999. "Double trouble: on the value of twins-based estimation of the return to schooling," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 169-182, April.
  2. Björklund, Anders & Eriksson, Tor & Jäntti, Markus & Raaum, Oddbjørn & Österbacka, Eva, 2000. "Brother Correlations in Earnings in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden Compared to the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 158, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Oddbjørn Raaum & Kjell G. Salvanes & Erik O. Sørensen, 2006. "The Neighbourhood is Not What it Used to be," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 200-222, 01.
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  5. Fernández, Raquel & Fogli, Alessandra & Olivetti, Claudia, 2002. "Marrying Your Mom: Preference Transmission and Women's Labour and Education Choices," CEPR Discussion Papers 3592, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  9. Antonovics, Kate & Goldberger, Arthur S., 2003. "Do Educated Women Make Bad Mothers? Twin Studies of the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt2mk37677, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
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  16. Casey B. Mulligan, 1999. "Galton versus the Human Capital Approach to Inheritance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S184-S224, December.
  17. Aakvik, Arild & Salvanes, Kjell G & Vaage, Kjell, 2003. "Measuring Heterogeneity in the Returns to Education in Norway Using Educational Reforms," CEPR Discussion Papers 4088, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Solon, Gary, 1999. "Intergenerational mobility in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 29, pages 1761-1800 Elsevier.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Constant, Amelie F. & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2003. "Occupational Choice Across Generations," IZA Discussion Papers 975, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "Why the Apple Doesn't Fall Far: Understanding Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 437-449, March.
  3. A Chevalier & C Harmon & V O'Sullivan & I Walker, 2010. "The Impact of Parental Income and Education on the Schooling of their Children," Working Papers 610852, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
  4. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereaux & Kjell Salvanes, 2004. "Fast Times at Ridgemont High? The Effect of Compulsory Schooling Laws on Teenage Births," NBER Working Papers 10911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Ebonya Washington, 2006. "Female Socialization: How Daughters Affect Their Legislator Fathers' Voting on Women's Issues," NBER Working Papers 11924, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Björklund, Anders & Lindahl, Mikael & Plug, Erik, 2004. "Intergenerational Effects in Sweden: What Can We Learn from Adoption Data?," IZA Discussion Papers 1194, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Eric A. Hanushek, 2004. "Some Simple Analytics of School Quality," NBER Working Papers 10229, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. de Walque, Damien, 2005. "Parental education and children's schooling outcomes : is the effect nature, nurture, or both? evidence from recomposed families in Rwanda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3483, The World Bank.
  9. Haegeland, Torbjørn & Raaum, Oddbjørn & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2005. "Pupil Achievement, School Resources and Family Background," IZA Discussion Papers 1459, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Bruce Sacerdote, 2004. "What Happens When We Randomly Assign Children to Families?," NBER Working Papers 10894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Torbjørn Hægeland & Oddbjørn Raaum & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2004. "Pupil achievement, school resources and family backgr," Discussion Papers 397, Research Department of Statistics Norway.

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