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How Parental Education Affects Child Human Capital: Evidence from Mozambique


  • Rasmus Heltberg

    (Institute of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Niels Johannesen

    (Institute of Economics, University of Copenhagen)


This paper anlyses how parental education affects child human capital outcomes, using household survey data from Mozambique. Four indicators of human capital are examined: height-for-age of children below 5 years of age, children''s rate of survival, children''s education, and total fertility of adult women. Using a sequential regression approach, it is investigated how mothers'' and fathers'' education impacts on child human capital outcomes through higher incomes, literacy, and changes in fertility knowledge and preferences. Education of the parents, and especially of the mother, is found to impact in a strong and significant manner on human capital outcomes. The effect of education seems to work through cognitive skills (such as literacy) to a large extent, but income, health knowledge, and fertility preferences also play a role. The results are robust to controlling for community fixed effects (which purge the estimates of all differences in infrastructure and prices), and there seems to be little difference in the determinants of human capital outcomes between rural and urban areas. For education, gender of the child matters: Mothers'' schooling and literacy has a stronger effect on girls'' education, and fathers'' schooling and literacy has a larger impact on the education of boys. It is concluded that programs to expand literacy, especially of women, are likely to have a higher payoff in terms of improved human capital and reduced fertility.

Suggested Citation

  • Rasmus Heltberg & Niels Johannesen, 2002. "How Parental Education Affects Child Human Capital: Evidence from Mozambique," Discussion Papers 02-04, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:0204

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    human capital; fertility; education; health; Africa; Mozambique;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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