Parental Education and Child Health: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Taiwan

51 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2007 Last revised: 13 Feb 2010

See all articles by Shin-Yi Chou

Shin-Yi Chou

Lehigh University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jin‐Tan Liu

National Taiwan University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Michael Grossman

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NY Office; CUNY The Graduate Center - Department of Economics

Theodore Joyce

CUNY Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 2007

Abstract

This paper exploits a natural experiment to estimate the causal impact of parental education on child health in Taiwan. In 1968, the Taiwanese government extended compulsory education from six to nine years. From that year through 1973, the government opened 254 new junior high schools, an 80 percent increase, at a differential rate among regions. We form treatment and control groups of women or men who were age 12 or under on the one hand and between the ages of 13 and 20 or 25 on the other hand in 1968. Within each region, we exploit variations across cohorts in new junior high school openings to construct an instrument for schooling. We employ this instrument to estimate the causal effects of mother's or father's schooling on the incidence of low birthweight and mortality of infants born to women in the treatment and control groups or the wives of men in these groups in the period from 1978 through 1999. Parents' schooling, especially mother's schooling, does indeed cause favorable infant health outcomes. The increase in schooling associated with the reform saved almost 1 infant life in 1,000 live births, resulting in a decline in infant mortality of approximately 11 percent.

Suggested Citation

Chou, Shin-Yi and Liu, Jin-Tan and Grossman, Michael and Joyce, Theodore J., Parental Education and Child Health: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Taiwan (October 2007). NBER Working Paper No. w13466. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1019466

Shin-Yi Chou (Contact Author)

Lehigh University - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Jin-Tan Liu

National Taiwan University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Taiwan

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Michael Grossman

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NY Office ( email )

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CUNY The Graduate Center - Department of Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://mgrossman.ws.gc.cuny.edu

Theodore J. Joyce

CUNY Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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