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Education and Intergenerational Mobility: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Purerto Rico

Author

Listed:
  • John C. Bluedorn

    () (Dept of Economcis, University of Oxford)

  • Elizabeth U. Cascio

    (University of California, Davis and NBER)

Abstract

The existence of intergenerational spillovers to public investments in schooling is often assumed in policy discussions regarding economic development. However, few studies to date have forwarded convincing evidence that externalities exist for developing countries. In this paper, we address this issue using the arguably exogenous schooling consequences of a major hurricane strike on Puerto Rico in the 1950s. Using data from the US. Census of Population for Puerto Rico, we first find that individuals on to margin of school entry at the time of the storm and residing in the most exposed regions of the island had significantly lower levels of education as adults than their counterparts in less exposed regions. Using the interaction of wind speed and age at the time of the storm as an instrument, we then find that maternal education is related to the probability that a child speaks English. Our estimates imply an additional year of education raise the probability that a child speaks English by between 4.3 and 4.5 percentage points, c approximately 24 to 28 percent. We find no conclusive evidence that parental education increases the probability that a child is enrolled, literate, or in an age-appropriate grad, On balance, these findings suggest that education is responsible at least in part for the persistence of human capital across generations.

Suggested Citation

  • John C. Bluedorn & Elizabeth U. Cascio, 2005. "Education and Intergenerational Mobility: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Purerto Rico," Economics Papers 2005-W21, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:nuf:econwp:0521
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    File URL: http://www.nuffield.ox.ac.uk/economics/papers/2005/W21/bluedorncascio-apr05.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Justin McCrary & Heather Royer, 2011. "The Effect of Female Education on Fertility and Infant Health: Evidence from School Entry Policies Using Exact Date of Birth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 158-195, February.
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    3. Philip Oreopoulos & Marianne E. Page & Ann Huff Stevens, 2003. "Does Human Capital Transfer from Parent to Child? The Intergenerational Effects of Compulsory Schooling," NBER Working Papers 10164, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 257-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Shin-Yi Chou & Jin-Tan Liu & Michael Grossman & Ted Joyce, 2010. "Parental Education and Child Health: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Taiwan," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 33-61, January.
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    7. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yang Dean, 2008. "Coping with Disaster: The Impact of Hurricanes on International Financial Flows, 1970-2002," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-45, June.
    2. Anna Christina D'Addio, 2007. "Intergenerational Transmission of Disadvantage: Mobility or Immobility Across Generations?," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 52, OECD Publishing.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; intergenerational mobility; natural experiment; hurricane;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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