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Do Smart Parents Raise Smart Children?: The Intergenerational Transmission of Cognitive Abilities

  • Silke Anger
  • Guido Heineck

Complementing prior research on income mobility and educational transmission, we provide evidence on the intergenerational transmission of cognitive abilities using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study. Our estimates suggest that individuals' cognitive skills are positively related to the abilities of their parents, even when educational attainment and family background is controlled for. We differentiate between mothers' and fathers' IQ transmission and find different effects on the cognition of sons and daughters. We show that cognitive skills which are based on past learning are more strongly transmitted from parents to children than cognitive skills which are related to innate abilities. Our findings are not compatible with a pure genetic model, but rather point to the importance of parental investments for the cognitive outcomes of children.

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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 156.

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Length: 37 p.
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp156
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