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Intergenerational transmission of human capital in early childhood


  • Coneus, Katja
  • Sprietsma, Maresa


It is a well-known fact that the level of parents' education is strongly correlated with the educational achievement of their children. In this paper,we shed light on the potential channels through which human capital is transmitted from mothers to their children in early childhood. The main channels through which maternal human capital benefits the child's verbal and social skills are birth weight and father's support. Moreover,reading stories to the child is most relevant for the transmision of verbal skills whereas for social skills, a crucial channel for maternal human capital is the attendance of institutional childcare.

Suggested Citation

  • Coneus, Katja & Sprietsma, Maresa, 2009. "Intergenerational transmission of human capital in early childhood," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-038, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:09038

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pedro Carneiro & Costas Meghir & Matthias Parey, 2013. "Maternal Education, Home Environments, And The Development Of Children And Adolescents," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11, pages 123-160, January.
    2. Belzil, Christian & Hansen, Jörgen, 2003. "Structural Estimates of the Intergenerational Education Correlation," IZA Discussion Papers 973, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. James Heckman, 2011. "Policies to foster human capital," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 3, pages 73-137.
    4. Janet Currie, 2009. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Socioeconomic Status, Poor Health in Childhood, and Human Capital Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 87-122, March.
    5. 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. Berger, Eva M. & Spiess, C. Katharina, 2011. "Maternal Life Satisfaction and Child Outcomes: Are They Related?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 142-158, February.
    2. Berggren, Niclas & Nilsson, Therese, 2015. "Globalization and the transmission of social values: The case of tolerance," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 371-389.
    3. Franziska Ziegelmeyer, 2010. "Elterliche Stellvertreterentscheidungen und frühkindliche Humankapitalbildung," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 79(3), pages 57-77.

    More about this item


    early childhood; skills; intergenerational transmission;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General

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