Educational achievement and socioeconomic background: causality and mechanisms in Senegal
This paper addresses the relationship between schooling and socioeconomic background, in particular parents’ education. We use an original survey conducted in 2003 in Senegal that provides instruments to deal with the endogeneity of background variables. These instruments describe the environment in which parents lived when they were ten years old. The estimated effect of father’s education more than doubles when its endogeneity is accounted for and, unexpectedly, becomes much bigger than the impact of mother’s education. We focus on the understanding of the channels through which parental education affects children’s schooling and present results pointing at the role of parental education in shaping parental preferences for the education of their offspring. Finally, we present empirical evidence suggesting that family background has as much impact after entry to school as it does at younger ages.
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