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Causal Effects of Parents’ Education on Children’s Education

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  • John Ermisch

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  • Chiara Pronzato

    ()

Abstract

The paper shows that parents’ education is an important, but hardly exclusive part of the common family background that generates positive correlation between the educational attainments of siblings from the same family. But the correlation between the educational attainments of parents and those of their children overstates considerably the causal effect of parents’ education on the education of their children. Our estimates based on Norwegian twin-mothers indicate that an additional year of either mother’s or father’s education increases their children’s education by as little as one-tenth of a year. There is some evidence that the mother’s effect is larger among poorer educated parents, while the father’s effect is larger among better educated parents. We also find that the effect of mother’s education is larger for daughters than sons. There is evidence that father’s education has a larger effect than that of mothers in both the USA and Norway, but the difference in the estimated parental effects is much larger in the USA and is statistically significantly there. One explanation for a smaller maternal effect is that better educated mothers work more in paid employment and spend less time interacting with their children. We test this hypothesis using a ‘matching estimator’ for Norway and find no evidence to support it; indeed children of otherwise identical mothers (on a number of criteria, including both parents education) who worked more in paid employment completed more years of education.

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File URL: http://www.child-centre.unito.it/papers/child05_2010.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY in its series CHILD Working Papers with number wp05_10.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpc:wplist:wp05_10

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Keywords: Parents Education; Children Education;

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References

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  1. Tom Hertz & Tamara Jayasundera & Patrizio Piraino & Sibel Selcuk & Nicole Smith & Alina Verashchagina, 2007. "The Inheritance of Educational Inequality: International Comparisons and Fifty-Year Trends," Working Papers 2007-013, American University, Department of Economics.
  2. Anger, Silke & Heineck, Guido, 2010. "Do Smart Parents Raise Smart Children? The Intergenerational Transmission of Cognitive Abilities," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 1105-1132.
  3. Jonathan Guryan & Erik Hurst & Melissa Kearney, 2008. "Parental Education and Parental Time with Children," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 23-46, Summer.
  4. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2008. "Like Father, Like Son? A Note on the Intergenerational Transmission of IQ Scores," NBER Working Papers 14274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Chiara Pronzato, 2009. "An Examination of Paternal and Maternal Intergenerational Transmission of Schooling," CHILD Working Papers wp20_09, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  6. Björklund Anders & Hederos Eriksson Karin & Jäntti Markus, 2010. "IQ and Family Background: Are Associations Strong or Weak?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-14, January.
  7. 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.
  8. Anders Björklund & Mikael Lindahl & Erik Plug, 2006. "The Origins of Intergenerational Associations: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(3), pages 999-1028, 08.
  9. Ghazala Naz, 2004. "The impact of cash-benefit reform on parents’ labour force participation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 369-383, 06.
  10. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2002. "Does Increasing Women's Schooling Raise the Schooling of the Next Generation?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 323-334, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Amin, Vikesh & Lundborg, Petter & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2011. "Mothers Do Matter: New Evidence on the Effect of Parents' Schooling on Children's Schooling Using Swedish Twin Data," IZA Discussion Papers 5946, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Rud, Iryna & Van Klaveren, Chris & Groot, Wim & Maassen van den Brink, Henriëtte, 2014. "The externalities of crime: The effect of criminal involvement of parents on the educational attainment of their children," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 89-103.

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