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Does Quality Time Produce Quality Children? Evidence on the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital Using Parental Deaths

  • Gould, Eric D.


    (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)

  • Simhon, Avi


    (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)

This paper uses variation created by parental deaths in the amount of time children spend with each parent to examine whether the parent-child correlation in schooling outcomes stems from a causal relationship. Using a large sample of Israeli children who lost one parent during childhood, we find a series of striking patterns which show that the relationship is largely causal. Relative to children who did not lose a parent, the education of the deceased parent is less important in determining child outcomes, while the education of the surviving parent becomes a stronger factor. Moreover, within the group of families that lost a parent, this pattern intensifies when a child loses a parent earlier in life – the education of the deceased parent becomes even less important, while the effect of the surviving parent's schooling intensifies. These results provide strong evidence that there is a causal connection between parent and child schooling, which is dependent on the child's interaction time with each parent. These findings help us understand why educated parents typically spend more time with their children – they are more effective in producing human capital in their children.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5487.

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Length: 56 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5487
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  1. Eric D. Gould & Victor Lavy & M. Daniele Paserman, 2009. "Sixty Years after the Magic Carpet Ride: The Long-Run Effect of the Early Childhood Environment on Social and Economic Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 14884, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Adda, Jérôme; Björklund, Anders; Holmlund, Helena, 2011. "The Role of Mothers and Fathers in Providing Skills: Evidence from Parental Deaths," Economics Working Papers ECO2011/08, European University Institute.
  3. 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).
  4. Anne Case & Christina Paxson & Joseph Ableidinger, 2004. "Orphans in Africa: Parental Death, Poverty and School Enrollment," Working Papers 256, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  5. Jean Kimmel & Rachel Connelly, 2007. "Mothers’ Time Choices: Caregiving, Leisure, Home Production, and Paid Work," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(3).
  6. Miles Corak, . "Death and Divorce: The Long Term Consequences of Parental Loss on Adolescents," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 39, McMaster University.
  7. Black, Sandra E. & Devereux, Paul J. & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2003. "Why the Apple Doesn't Fall Far: Understanding Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," IZA Discussion Papers 926, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Janet Currie & Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Mother's Education and the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital: Evidence from College Openings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1495-1532.
  9. Pedro Carneiro & Costas Meghir & Matthias Parey, 2010. "Maternal education, home environments and the development of children and adolescents," CeMMAP working papers CWP39/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  10. Jonathan Guryan & Erik Hurst & Melissa Schettini Kearney, 2008. "Parental Education and Parental Time With Children," NBER Working Papers 13993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Holmlund, Helena & Lindahl, Mikael & Plug, Erik, 2008. "The Causal Effect of Parent's Schooling on Children's Schooling: A Comparison of Estimation Methods," IZA Discussion Papers 3630, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. S Black & Paul Devereux & Kjell Salvanes, 2005. "The More the Merrier? The Effect of Family Size and Birth Order on Childrens Education," CEE Discussion Papers 0050, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  13. 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.
  14. Ann Huff Stevens & Marianne Page & Philip Oreopoulos, 2005. "The Intergenerational Effects of Compulsory Schooling," Working Papers 519, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  15. Erik Plug, 2004. "Estimating the Effect of Mother's Schooling on Children's Schooling Using a Sample of Adoptees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 358-368, March.
  16. Erik Plug & Wim Vijverberg, 2003. "Schooling, Family Background, and Adoption: Is It Nature or Is It Nurture?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(3), pages 611-641, June.
  17. 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.
  18. Eric Maurin & Sandra McNally, 2008. "Vive la Révolution! Long-Term Educational Returns of 1968 to the Angry Students," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26, pages 1-33.
  19. Leibowitz, Arleen, 1974. "Education and Home Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 243-50, May.
  20. Anne Case & Cally Ardington, 2006. "The impact of parental death on school outcomes: Longitudinal evidence from South Africa," Demography, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 401-420, August.
  21. Datcher-Loury, Linda, 1988. "Effects of Mother's Home Time on Children's Schooling," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(3), pages 367-73, August.
  22. 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.
  23. Kevin Lang & Jay L. Zagorsky, 2001. "Does Growing up with a Parent Absent Really Hurt?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(2), pages 253-273.
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