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The Impact of Parental Earnings and Education on the Schooling of Children

  • Arnaud Chevalier

    (Royal Holloway, University of London, IZA)

  • Colm Harmon

    (University College Dublin, Australian National University, IZA)

  • Vincent O'Sullivan

    (TILDA, Trinity College Dublin, The ESRI)

  • Ian Walker

    (Lancaster University Management School, IZA)

This paper addresses the intergenerational transmission of education and investigates the extent to which early school leaving (at age 16) may be due to variations in parental background. An important contribution of the paper is to distinguish between the causal effects of parental income and parental education levels. Least squares estimation reveals conventional results – weak effects of income (when the child is 16), stronger effects of maternal education than paternal, and stronger effects on sons than daughters. We find that the education effects remain significant even when household income is included. However, when we use instrumental variable methods to simultaneously account for the endogeneity of parental education and paternal income, only maternal education remains significant (for daughters only) and becomes stronger. These estimates are consistent across various sets of instruments. The impact of paternal income varies between specifications but becomes insignificant in our favored specifications. Our results provide only limited support for policies that alleviate income constraints at age 16 in order to alter schooling decisions. In contrast, our results do suggest that policies which increase permanent income would lead to increased participation (especially for daughters).

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File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/geary/static/publications/workingpapers/gearywp201112.pdf
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Paper provided by Geary Institute, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 201112.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: 29 Jun 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:2011/12
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  1. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg, 2004. "Family income and educational attainment : a review of approaches and evidence for Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 333, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Lisa Sanbonmatsu & Jeffrey R. Kling & Greg J. Duncan & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2006. "Neighborhoods and Academic Achievement: Results from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment," NBER Working Papers 11909, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Arnaud Chevalier & Colm Harmon & Ian Walker & Yu Zhu, 2004. "Does Education Raise Productivity, or Just Reflect it?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(499), pages F499-F517, November.
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  8. Sandra E Black & Paul J Devereux, 2010. "Recent Developments in Intergenerational Mobility," Working Papers 201010, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  9. Løken, Katrine V., 2010. "Family income and children's education: Using the Norwegian oil boom as a natural experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 118-129, January.
  10. Arnaud Chevalier & Gauthier Lanot, 2002. "The Relative Effect of Family Characteristics and Financial Situation on Educational Achievement," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 165-181.
  11. Björklund, Anders & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2011. "Education and Family Background: Mechanisms and Policies," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  12. Arnaud Chevalier, 2004. "Parental Education and Childs Education: A Natural Experiment," CEE Discussion Papers 0040, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  13. Jo Blanden, 2004. "Family Income and Educational Attainment: A Review of Approaches and Evidence for Britain," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 245-263, Summer.
  14. 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.
  15. Chowdry, Haroon & Crawford, Claire & Dearden, Lorraine & Goodman, Alissa & Vignoles, Anna, 2010. "Widening Participation in Higher Education: Analysis Using Linked Administrative Data," IZA Discussion Papers 4991, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2013. "Intergenerational Persistence in Income and Social Class: The Impact of Within-Group Inequality," CEP Discussion Papers dp1242, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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  18. 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).
  19. 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.
  20. 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 615-51, September.
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  23. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 1995. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1278-86, December.
  24. Lorraine Dearden & Carl Emmerson & Costas Meghir, 2009. "Conditional Cash Transfers and School Dropout Rates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(4).
  25. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2002. "Does Increasing Women's Schooling Raise the Schooling of the Next Generation?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 323-334, March.
  26. Claire Crawford & Lorraine Dearden & Costas Meghir, 2007. "When You Are Born Matters: The Imapct of Date of Birth on Child Cognitive Outcomes in England," CEE Discussion Papers 0093, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
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