The Role of Mothers and Fathers in Providing Skills: Evidence from Parental Deaths

56 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2011  

Jerome Adda

University College London - Department of Economics; Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

Anders Bjorklund

Stockholm University; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Helena Holmlund

IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation

Abstract

This paper evaluates the long-term consequences of parental death on children’s cognitive and noncognitive skills, as well as on labor market outcomes. We exploit a large administrative data set covering many Swedish cohorts. We develop new estimation methods to tackle the potential endogeneity of death at an early age, based on the idea that the amount of endogeneity is constant or decreasing during childhood. Our method also allows us to identify a set of death causes that are conditionally exogenous. We find that the loss of either a father or a mother on boys' earnings is no higher than 6-7 percent and slightly lower for girls. Our examination of the impact on cognitive skills (IQ and educational attainment) and on noncognitive skills (emotional stability, social skills) shows rather small effects on each type of skill. We find that both mothers and fathers are important, but mothers are somewhat more important for cognitive skills and fathers for noncognitive ones.

Keywords: family background, cognitive and noncognitive skills, parental death

JEL Classification: J12, J17, J24

Suggested Citation

Adda, Jerome and Bjorklund, Anders and Holmlund, Helena, The Role of Mothers and Fathers in Providing Skills: Evidence from Parental Deaths. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5425. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1741613

Jerome Adda (Contact Author)

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

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

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Anders Bjorklund

Stockholm University ( email )

Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI)
S-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden
+46 8 163452 (Phone)
+46 8 154670 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Helena Holmlund

IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation ( email )

Box 513
751 20 Uppsala
Sweden

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