Family Background, School Quality, Ability and Student Achievement in Rural China –Identification Using Famine-Generated Instruments
This paper investigates the determinants of academic achievement in basic education (grade 1-9) for a sample of children (aged 9-12 in 2000) from rural China. A set of instrumental variable generated by the Great Famine in China, 1958-1961, is used to instrument an error-ridden measure of child innate ability, the cognitive ability score of each sampled child. Empirical results indicate strong effects of family background variables such as household income and parental education. Father’s education has significantly positive effect on academic achievements for both boys and girls, while mother’s education only matters for girls. Consistent with the common findings in the literature, most of school quality variables do not have significantly positive effects on child academic achievements.
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