Do Smart Parents Raise Smart Children? The Intergenerational Transmission of Cognitive Abilities

39 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2009

See all articles by Silke Anger

Silke Anger

Government of the Federal Republic of Germany - Institute for Employment Research (IAB); German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Guido Heineck

University of Bamberg; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: February 2009

Abstract

Complementing prior research on income mobility and educational transmission, we provide evidence on the intergenerational transmission of cognitive abilities using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study. Our estimates suggest that individuals' cognitive skills are positively related to the abilities of their parents, even when educational attainment and family background is controlled for. We differentiate between mothers' and fathers' IQ transmission and find different effects on the cognition of sons and daughters. We show that cognitive skills which are based on past learning are more strongly transmitted from parents to children than cognitive skills which are related to innate abilities. Our findings are not compatible with a pure genetic model, but rather point to the importance of parental investments for the cognitive outcomes of children.

Keywords: Cognitive abilities, intergenerational IQ transmission, skill formation

JEL Classification: J10, J24, I20

Suggested Citation

Anger, Silke and Heineck, Guido, Do Smart Parents Raise Smart Children? The Intergenerational Transmission of Cognitive Abilities (February 2009). SOEPpaper No. 156. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1350259 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1350259

Silke Anger (Contact Author)

Government of the Federal Republic of Germany - Institute for Employment Research (IAB) ( email )

Regensburger Str. 104
Nuremberg, 90478
Germany

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP)
Mohrenstra├če 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany
+49 30 89789-526 (Phone)
+49 30 89789-109 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.diw.de/programme/jsp/MA.jsp?uid=sanger&language=en

Guido Heineck

University of Bamberg

Feldkirchenstr. 21
Bamberg, 96052
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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

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