Maternal Education, Home Environments and the Development of Children and Adolescents

57 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2008

See all articles by Pedro Manuel Carneiro

Pedro Manuel Carneiro

University College London - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Costas Meghir

Yale University; Yale University - Cowles Foundation; Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Matthias Parey

University College London

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Abstract

We study the intergenerational effects of maternal education on children's cognitive achievement, behavioural problems, grade repetition and obesity. We address endogeneity of maternal schooling by instrumenting with variation in schooling costs when the mother grew up. Using matched data from the female participants of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) and their children, we can control for mother's ability and family background factors. Our results show substantial intergenerational returns to education. For children aged 7-8, for example, our IV results indicate that an additional year of mother's schooling increases the child's performance on a standardized math test by almost 0.1 of a standard deviation, and reduces the incidence of behavioural problems. Our data set allows us to study a large array of channels, which may transmit the effect of maternal education to the child, including family environment and parental investments at different ages of the child. We find that income effects, delayed childbearing, and assortative mating are likely to be important, and we show that maternal education leads to substantial differences in maternal labour supply. We investigate heterogeneity in returns, and we present results focusing both on very early stages in the child's life as well as adolescent outcomes. We present a falsification exercise to support the validity of our instruments, and our results are found to be robust in a sensitivity analysis. We discuss policy implications and relate our findings to intergenerational mobility.

Keywords: Child Development, Education, Intergenerational Mobility

JEL Classification: J31

Suggested Citation

Carneiro, Pedro Manuel and Meghir, Costas and Parey, Matthias, Maternal Education, Home Environments and the Development of Children and Adolescents. CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP6505. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1140032

Pedro Manuel Carneiro

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Costas Meghir (Contact Author)

Yale University ( email )

37 Hillhouse avenue
New Haven, CT CT 06511
United States
+12034323558 (Phone)

Yale University - Cowles Foundation ( email )

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Matthias Parey

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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