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The Role of Mothers and Fathers in Providing Skills: Evidence from Parental Deaths

  • Adda, Jérôme; Björklund, Anders; Holmlund, Helena

This paper evaluates the long-term consequences of parental death on children’s cognitive and noncognitive skills, as well as on labor market outcomes. We exploit a large administrative data set covering many Swedish cohorts. We develop new estimation methods to tackle the potential endogeneity of death at an early age, based on the idea that the amount of endogeneity is constant or decreasing during childhood. Our method also allows us to identify a set of death causes that are conditionally exogenous. We find that the loss of either a father or a mother on boys’ earnings is no higher than 6-7 percent and slightly lower for girls. Our examination of the impact on cognitive skills (IQ and educational attainment) and on noncognitive skills (emotional stability, social skills) shows rather small effects on each type of skill. We find that both mothers and fathers are important, but mothers are somewhat more important for cognitive skills and fathers for noncognitive ones.

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File URL: http://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/15954/ECO_2011_08_rev.pdf
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Paper provided by European University Institute in its series Economics Working Papers with number ECO2011/08.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2011/08
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  13. Stacey H. Chen & Yen-Chien Chen & Jin-Tan Liu, 2009. "The Impact of Unexpected Maternal Death on Education: First Evidence from Three National Administrative Data Links," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 149-53, May.
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  15. Helena Holmlund & Mikael Lindahl & Erik Plug, 2011. "The Causal Effect of Parents' Schooling on Children's Schooling: A Comparison of Estimation Methods," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 615-51, September.
  16. Matthew Lindquist & Gabriella Sjögren Lindquist, 2012. "The dynamics of child poverty in Sweden," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 1423-1450, October.
  17. Yona Rubinstein & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Importance of Noncognitive Skills: Lessons from the GED Testing Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 145-149, May.
  18. Bernal, Raquel & Keane, Michael P., 2010. "Quasi-structural estimation of a model of childcare choices and child cognitive ability production," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 164-189, May.
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  24. Raquel Bernal, 2008. "The Effect Of Maternal Employment And Child Care On Children'S Cognitive Development," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1173-1209, November.
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