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Why Children of College Graduates Outperform their Schoolmates: A Study of Cousins and Adoptees

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Author Info

  • Haegeland, Torbjørn

    ()
    (Statistics Norway)

  • Kirkeboen, Lars

    ()
    (University of Oslo)

  • Raaum, Oddbjørn

    ()
    (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research)

  • Salvanes, Kjell G.

    ()
    (Norwegian School of Economics)

Abstract

Massive cross-sectional evidence exists indicating that children of more educated parents outperform their schoolmates. However, evidence for causal interpretation of this association is weak. We examine a causal relationship using two approaches for identification within the same data: cousins with twin parents and adopted children. We find no effect of mothers' education on children's school performance using the children-of-twins approach. However, for adopted children, mother's education has a small positive effect. Tracking the work experience of parents during offspring childhood, we find no support that this effect can be explained by a higher labor force participation among more educated mothers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5369.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5369

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Keywords: intergenerational mobility; education; twin parents; adoptees;

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References

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  1. Jonathan Guryan & Erik Hurst & Melissa Schettini Kearney, 2008. "Parental Education and Parental Time With Children," NBER Working Papers 13993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Björklund, Anders & Lindahl, Mikael & Plug, Erik, 2005. "The Origins of Intergenerational Associations: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data," IZA Discussion Papers 1739, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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Cited by:
  1. Björklund, Anders & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2010. "Education and Family Background: Mechanisms and Policies," IZA Discussion Papers 5002, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Gould, Eric D & Simhon, Avi, 2011. "Does Quality Time Produce Quality Children? Evidence on the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital using Parental Deaths," CEPR Discussion Papers 8258, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Björklund, Anders & Jäntti, Markus, 2012. "How important is family background for labor-economic outcomes?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 465-474.
  4. Helena Holmlund & Mikael Lindahl & Erik Plug, 2011. "The Causal Effect of Parents' Schooling on Children's Schooling: A Comparison of Estimation Methods," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 615-51, September.
  5. Holmlund, Helena & Lindahl, Mikael & Plug, Erik, 2010. "The Causal Eff ect of Parent’s Schooling on Children’s Schooling," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies 2010:8, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.

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