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Maternal depression and child human capital: a genetic instrumental variable approach

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  • Clark, Andrew E.
  • D'Ambrosio, Conchita
  • Ghislandi, Simone
  • Lepinteur, Anthony
  • Menta, Giorgia

Abstract

We here address the causal relationship between maternal depression and child human capital using UK cohort data. We exploit the conditionally-exogenous variation in mothers’ genomes in an instrumentalvariable approach, and describe the conditions under which mother’s genetic variants can be used as valid instruments. An additional episode of maternal depression between the child’s birth up to age nine reduces both their cognitive and non-cognitive skills by 20 to 45% of a SD throughout adolescence. Our results are robust to a battery of sensitivity tests addressing, among others, concerns about pleiotropy and the maternal transmission of genes to her child.

Suggested Citation

  • Clark, Andrew E. & D'Ambrosio, Conchita & Ghislandi, Simone & Lepinteur, Anthony & Menta, Giorgia, 2021. "Maternal depression and child human capital: a genetic instrumental variable approach," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 114414, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:114414
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    mendelian randomisation; maternal depression; human capital; instrumental variables; ALSPAC;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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