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The effect of parents' employment on children's educational attainment

  • Ermisch, John
  • Francesconi, Marco

This paper presents the conditions under which a causal interpretation can be given to the association between childhood parental employment and subsequent education of children. In a model in which parental preferences are separable in own consumption and children's well-being, estimation is complicated by endowment heterogeneity and by the fact that parents may compensate or reinforce children's endowments relevant to education attainment. A sibling difference estimatation strategy is generally not sufficient to provide a consistent estimate of the parameter of interest. Identification rests on two stronger assumptions about the timing of parents' knowledge of their children's endowments and about the technology used to produce children's human capital. We find a negative and signifcant effect on the child's educational attainment of the extent of mother's full-time employment when the child was aged 0-5. The effects of mother's part-time employment and father's employment are smaller and less well determined but again negative. In the context of our conditional demand function framework, these results suggest that a higher full family income increases the educational attainment of children, and given full family income, a higher mother's or father's wages reduces their childen's educational attainment.

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Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series ISER Working Paper Series with number 2000-31.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2000
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Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2000-31
Contact details of provider: Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK
Phone: 44-1206-872957
Fax: 44-1206-873151
Web page: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/
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  2. Currie, Janet & Cole, Nancy, 1993. "Welfare and Child Health: The Link between AFDC Participation and Birth Weight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 971-85, September.
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  15. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1995. "Sisters, Siblings, and Mothers: The Effect of Teen-Age Childbearing on Birth Outcomes in a Dynamic Family Context," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(2), pages 303-26, March.
  16. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
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