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Parents Basic Skills and Childrens Cognitive Outcomes

Author

Listed:
  • Elena Meschi
  • Anna Vignoles
  • Augustin de Coulon

Abstract

The main aim of this paper is to assess how parents' literacy and numeracy affect the cognitive skill of their children. The data used are from the British Cohort Survey (BCS) which provides in 2004 basic skill assessments for all cohort members and cognitive tests for their children. We find strong evidence that parents with higher basic skills have children who perform better in cognitive achievement tests. This result is robust to the inclusion of a wide range of factors, including family characteristics (socio-professional status, qualifications and income levels of the parents), family structure (number of siblings, lone parenthood), child characteristics (gender, age, whether first born, number of siblings) and even parents' own early cognitive ability as measured at age 5. We estimate a model where cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes of the children are simultaneously determined by their parents' basic skills and other characteristics (using a SURE approach). We find that parents' basic skills explain only their children's cognitive skills, and not their non-cognitive outcomes. We suggest this provides some support for the proposition that parents' basic skills are having a genuinely causal impact on children's cognitive skills rather than simply being correlated with other unobserved parental characteristics that improve child achievement.

Suggested Citation

  • Elena Meschi & Anna Vignoles & Augustin de Coulon, 2008. "Parents Basic Skills and Childrens Cognitive Outcomes," CEE Discussion Papers 0104, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0104
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    File URL: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/ceedps/ceedp104.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. McIntosh, Steven & Vignoles, Anna, 2001. "Measuring and Assessing the Impact of Basic Skills on Labour Market Outcomes," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 453-481, July.
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    4. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, May.
    5. Ishikawa, Mamoru & Ryan, Daniel, 2002. "Schooling, basic skills and economic outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 231-243, June.
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    10. Arnaud Chevalier, 2004. "Parental education and child’s education : a natural experiment," Working Papers 200414, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
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    Cited by:

    1. Derek Bosworth & Genna Kik, 2010. "Adult training policy with respect to basic skills: economic and social issues," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 5, in: María Jesús Mancebón-Torrubia & Domingo P. Ximénez-de-Embún & José María Gómez-Sancho & Gregorio Gim (ed.),Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 5, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 26, pages 499-524, Asociación de Economía de la Educación.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Basic skills; Intergenerational transfer; Education;

    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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