Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title The intergenerational effects of compulsory schooling
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2005
URL https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/31322/1/505118793.pdf
The strong correlation between parents’ economic status and that of their children has
been well-documented, but little is known about the extent to which this is a causal phenomenon.
This paper attempts to improve our understanding of the causal processes that contribute to
intergenerational immobility by exploiting historical changes in compulsory schooling laws that
affected the educational attainment of parents without affecting their innate abilities or
endowments. We examine the influence of parental compulsory schooling on children’s gradefor-age
using the 1960, 1970 and 1980 U.S. Censuses. Our estimates indicate that a one-year
increase in the education of either parent reduces the probability that a child repeats a grade by
between two to four percentage points. Among 15 to 16 year olds living at home, we also
estimate that parental compulsory schooling significantly lowers the likelihood of dropping out.
These findings suggest that education policies may be able to reduce part of the intergenerational
transmission of inequality.

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