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Does Parental Quality Matter? Evidence on the Transmission of Human Capital Using Variation in Parental Influence from Death, Divorce, and Family Size

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  • Eric D. Gould
  • Avi Simhon
  • Bruce A. Weinberg

Abstract

This paper examines the transmission of human capital from parents to children using variation in parental influence due to parental death, divorce, and the increasing specialization of parental roles in larger families. All three sources of variation yield strikingly similar patterns that show that the strong parent-child correlation in human capital is largely causal. In each case, the parent-child correlation in education is stronger with the parent who spends more time with the child and weaker with the parent who spends relatively less time parenting. These findings help us understand why educated parents spend more time with their children.

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  • Eric D. Gould & Avi Simhon & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2020. "Does Parental Quality Matter? Evidence on the Transmission of Human Capital Using Variation in Parental Influence from Death, Divorce, and Family Size," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 569-610.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/705904
    DOI: 10.1086/705904
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    1. Petri Bockerman & Mika Haapanen & Christopher Jepsen, 2021. "Dark Passage: Mental Health Consequences of Parental Death," Working Papers 202107, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    2. Joseph Price & Luke P. Rodgers & Jocelyn S. Wikle, 2021. "Dinner timing and human capital investments in children," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 1047-1075, December.
    3. Eric A. Hanushek & Jacob D. Light & Paul E. Peterson & Laura M. Talpey & Ludger Woessmann, 2022. "Long-run Trends in the U.S. SES-Achievement Gap," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 17(4), pages 608-640, Fall.
    4. Paul J. Devereux, 2019. "Intergenerational return to human capital," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 1-19, November.
    5. Cynthia Bansak & Martha Starr, 2021. "Covid-19 shocks to education supply: how 200,000 U.S. households dealt with the sudden shift to distance learning," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 63-90, March.
    6. Hanushek, Eric A. & Peterson, Paul E. & Talpey, Laura M. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2019. "The Unwavering SES Achievement Gap: Trends in U.S. Student Performance," Working Paper Series rwp19-012, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    7. Ahn, Kunwon & Winters, John V., 2021. "Does Education Enhance Entrepreneurship?," IZA Discussion Papers 14655, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Toews, Gerhard & Vezina, Pierre-Louis, 2020. "Enemies of the people," SocArXiv gnypr, Center for Open Science.
    9. Yan, Guoyao & Peng, Yanling & Hao, Yu & Irfan, Muhammad & Wu, Haitao, 2021. "Household head's educational level and household education expenditure in China: The mediating effect of social class identification," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 83(C).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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