• Open Access

MATERNAL EDUCATION, HOME ENVIRONMENTS, AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS

Authors


  • The editor in charge of this paper was Fabrizio Zilibotti.

  • Acknowledgments: We thank the editor Fabrizio Zilibotti, three anonymous referees, and seminar participants at UCL, the RES annual conference 2006, the 2006 COST conference on The Evaluation of European Labour Market Programmes, the UCD Geary Institute, the 2011 AEA meetings, the 3rd Annual Meeting on the Economics of Risky Behaviors, and the Ramon Areces Foundation Workshop on Quality and Efficiency in Education for useful suggestions, especially Joe Altonji, Janet Currie, Gordon Dahl and Steve Machin. Carneiro thanks the support of Leverhulme and the ESRC (RES-589-28-0001) through the Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, the European Research Council (ERC-2009-StG-240910-ROMETA, and ERC-2009-AdG-249612) and the hospitality of the Poverty Unit of the World Bank Research Group and Georgetown University.

E-mail: p.carneiro@ucl.ac.uk (Carneiro); c.meghir@yale.edu (Meghir); mparey@essex.ac.uk (Parey)

Abstract

We study the intergenerational effects of maternal education on children’s cognitive achievement, behavioral problems, grade repetition, and obesity, using matched data from the female participants of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) and their children. We address the endogeneity of maternal schooling by instrumenting it with variation in schooling costs during the mother’s adolescence. Our results show substantial intergenerational returns to education. 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 discuss policy implications and relate our findings to the literature on intergenerational mobility.

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