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Why the apple doesn't fall far : understanding intergenerational transmission of human capital

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  • Paul J. Devereux
  • Sandra E. Black
  • Kjell G. Salvanes

Abstract

This paper examines the causal relationship between parents' education and that of their children in Norway. In 1959, the Norwegian Parliament legislated a mandatory school reform. In addition, the reform standardized the curriculum and increased access to schools, since the nine years of mandatory school was eventually made available in all municipalities. Cohorts of parents born between 1947 and 1958 were included in the sample. In the case of the Norwegian reform, the increase in compulsory schooling had a significant effect on educational attainment at the bottom of the distribution. The primary effect of the reform was to reduce the proportion of people with fewer than nine years of education from 12 percent to three percent, with a new spike at nine years. For mothers, there is a positive effect of maternal education on the education of sons but no such relationship for daughters. The results indicate that the positive correlation between parents' education and children's education largely represents positive relationships between other factors that are correlated with education. These could be ability, family background, income, or other factors. It is also clear, however, that the effect of the reform on children's educational attainment is small, with only the mother/son pair demonstrating any real relationship.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul J. Devereux & Sandra E. Black & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "Why the apple doesn't fall far : understanding intergenerational transmission of human capital," Open Access publications 10197/309, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucn:oapubs:10197/309
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/309
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Educational attainment; Parent and child; Education; Compulsory--Norway;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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