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Why Children of College Graduates Outperform their Schoolmates: A Study of Cousins and Adoptees

Author

Listed:
  • Haegeland, Torbjørn

    () (Statistics Norway)

  • Kirkeboen, Lars

    () (University of Oslo)

  • Raaum, Oddbjørn

    () (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research)

  • Salvanes, Kjell G.

    () (Norwegian School of Economics)

Abstract

Massive cross-sectional evidence exists indicating that children of more educated parents outperform their schoolmates. However, evidence for causal interpretation of this association is weak. We examine a causal relationship using two approaches for identification within the same data: cousins with twin parents and adopted children. We find no effect of mothers' education on children's school performance using the children-of-twins approach. However, for adopted children, mother's education has a small positive effect. Tracking the work experience of parents during offspring childhood, we find no support that this effect can be explained by a higher labor force participation among more educated mothers.

Suggested Citation

  • Haegeland, Torbjørn & Kirkeboen, Lars & Raaum, Oddbjørn & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2010. "Why Children of College Graduates Outperform their Schoolmates: A Study of Cousins and Adoptees," IZA Discussion Papers 5369, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5369
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Anders Björklund & Mikael Lindahl & Erik Plug, 2006. "The Origins of Intergenerational Associations: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 999-1028.
    2. Jonathan Guryan & Erik Hurst & Melissa Kearney, 2008. "Parental Education and Parental Time with Children," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 23-46, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Björklund, Anders & Jäntti, Markus, 2012. "How important is family background for labor-economic outcomes?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 465-474.
    2. Holmlund, Helena & Lindahl, Mikael & Plug, Erik, 2010. "The Causal Eff ect of Parent’s Schooling on Children’s Schooling," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies 2010:8, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    3. 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 615-651, September.
    4. Amin, Vikesh & Lundborg, Petter & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2015. "The intergenerational transmission of schooling: Are mothers really less important than fathers?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 100-117.
    5. Björklund, Anders & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2011. "Education and Family Background: Mechanisms and Policies," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    6. repec:spr:demogr:v:55:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0637-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Gould, Eric D & Simhon, Avi, 2011. "Does Quality Time Produce Quality Children? Evidence on the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital using Parental Deaths," CEPR Discussion Papers 8258, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. repec:bla:econom:v:84:y:2017:i:336:p:748-778 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; intergenerational mobility; twin parents; adoptees;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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