Gender specialization in households: An empirical analysis
This paper studies the effect of parental education on the educational attainment of children in the US for cohorts born after 1910. Importantly, we allow for cohort-specific differences by gender. Our estimates show that paternal education has been more important for the attainment of male children (paternal specialization on sons). However, maternal specialization (on daughters) seems to have appeared only for cohorts born after 1955. We interpret these results as evidence that fathers are more important role models for sons while mothers are a more important reference for daughters. We argue that our results are robust to the presence of hereditary unobserved ability and conjecture that both types of gender specialization may have been present in earlier cohorts too.
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