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The Causal Eff ect of Parent’s Schooling on Children’s Schooling

  • Holmlund, Helena

    (Swedish Institute for Social Research,)

  • Lindahl, Mikael


    (Uppsala Center for Labor Studies)

  • Plug, Erik

    (Uppsala Center for Labor Studies)

We review the empirical literature that estimates the causal effect of parent’s schooling on child’s schooling, and conclude that estimates differ across studies. We then consider three explanations for why this is: (a) idiosyncratic differences in data sets; (b) differences in remaining biases between different identification strategies; and (c) differences across identification strategies in their ability to make out-of-sample predictions. We conclude that discrepancies in past studies can be explained by violations of identifying assumptions. Our reading of past evidence, together with an application to Swedish register data, suggests that intergenerational schooling associations are largely driven by selection. Parental schooling constitutes a large part of the parental nurture effect, but as a whole does not play a large role.

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Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies with number 2010:8.

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Length: 59 pages
Date of creation: 31 May 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uulswp:2010_008
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
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  1. Dorothe Bonjour & Lynn F. Cherkas & Jonathan E. Haskel & Denise D. Hawkes & Tim D. Spector, 2003. "Returns to Education: Evidence from U.K. Twins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1799-1812, December.
  2. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "Why the Apple Doesn't Fall Far: Understanding Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 437-449, March.
  3. Maurin, Eric & McNally, Sandra, 2005. "Vive la Révolution! Long Term Returns of 1968 to the Angry Students," IZA Discussion Papers 1504, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Helena Holmlund & Mikael Lindahl & Erik Plug, 2010. "The Causal Effect of Parents' Schooling on Children's Schooling - A Comparison of Estimation Methods," CESifo Working Paper Series 3234, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Pedro Carneiro & Costas Meghir & Matthias Parey, 2013. "Maternal Education, Home Environments, And The Development Of Children And Adolescents," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11, pages 123-160, 01.
  6. Björklund, Anders & Lindahl, Mikael & Plug, Erik, 2004. "Intergenerational Effects in Sweden: What Can We Learn from Adoption Data?," IZA Discussion Papers 1194, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Chiara Pronzato, 2009. "An Examination of Paternal and Maternal Intergenerational Transmission of Schooling," CHILD Working Papers wp20_09, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  8. Nathan D. Grawe & Casey B. Mulligan, 2002. "Economic Interpretations of Intergenerational Correlations," NBER Working Papers 8948, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Sandra E. Black & Paul Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2007. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," Working Papers 200718, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  10. Plug, Erik & Vijverberg, Wim, 2000. "Schooling, Family Background, and Adoption: Is It Nature of Is It Nurture?," Discussion Papers 736, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  11. Dearden, Lorraine & Machin, Stephen & Reed, Howard, 1997. "Intergenerational Mobility in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(440), pages 47-66, January.
  12. Chevalier, Arnaud, 2004. "Parental Education and Child's Education: A Natural Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 1153, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Dimitriy V. Masterov, 2005. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 11331, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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.
  15. Lindeboom, Maarten & Llena-Nozal, Ana & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2006. "Parental Education and Child Health: Evidence from a Schooling Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 2516, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Monique De Haan & Erik Plug, 2011. "Estimating intergenerational schooling mobility on censored samples: consequences and remedies," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(1), pages 151-166, January/F.
  17. Philip Oreopoulos & Marianne E. Page, 2006. "The Intergenerational Effects of Compulsory Schooling," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 729-760, October.
  18. SandraE. Black & PaulJ. Devereux & KjellG. Salvanes, 2008. "Staying in the Classroom and out of the maternity ward? The effect of compulsory schooling laws on teenage births," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(530), pages 1025-1054, 07.
  19. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:121:y:2006:i:3:p:999-1028 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Torbjørn Hægeland & Lars Johannessen Kirkebøen & Oddbjørn Raaum & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2010. "Why children of college graduates outperform their schoolmates. A study of cousins and adoptees," Discussion Papers 628, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  21. Monique de Haan, 2011. "The Effect of Parents' Schooling on Child's Schooling: A Nonparametric Bounds Analysis," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(4), pages 859 - 892.
  22. Kate L. Antonovics & Arthur S. Goldberger, 2005. "Does Increasing Women's Schooling Raise the Schooling of the Next Generation? Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1738-1744, December.
  23. Helena Holmlund, 2008. "A researcher's guide to the Swedish compulsory school reform," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19382, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  24. Björklund, Anders & Lindahl, Mikael & Plug, Erik, 2005. "The Origins of Intergenerational Associations: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data," IZA Discussion Papers 1739, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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