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Parents, Schools and Human Capital Differences across Countries

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  • Marta De Philippis
  • Federico Rossi

Abstract

This paper studies the contribution of parental influence in accounting for cross-country gaps in human capital achievements. We argue that the cross-country variation in unobserved parental characteristics is at least as important as the one in commonly used observable proxies of parental socio-economic background. We infer this through an indirect empirical approach, based on the comparison of the school performance of second-generation immigrants. We document that, within the same host country or even the same school, students whose parents come from high-scoring countries in the PISA test do better than their peers with similar socio-economic backgrounds. Differential selection into emigration does not explain this finding. The result is larger when parents have little education and have recently emigrated, suggesting the importance of country-specific cultural traits that parents progressively lose as they integrate in the new host country, rather than of an intergenerational transmission of education quality. Unobserved parental characteristics account for about 15% of the cross-country variance in test scores, roughly doubling the overall contribution of parental influence.

Suggested Citation

  • Marta De Philippis & Federico Rossi, 2019. "Parents, Schools and Human Capital Differences across Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp1617, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1617
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    Cited by:

    1. Camarero Garcia, Sebastian, 2018. "Inequality of educational opportunities and the role of learning intensity: Evidence from a quasi-experiment in Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 18-021, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development

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