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The Nurture Effects of Multidimensional Parental Skills on College Attainment

Jiaming Soh and Kegon Tan

Journal of Human Capital, 2020, vol. 14, issue 1, 1 - 42

Abstract: We investigate the nurture effects of parental cognitive and socioemotional skills on child college attainment. By studying a sample of adopted children in the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, we identify nongenetic effects of parental skills on college attainment. We find that parental intelligence quotient and openness act positively on child college attainment, while agreeableness has a negative impact. A 1 standard deviation difference in each of the skills translates to a 5–6 percentage point difference in college attainment, similar to the effect size of income. Finally, we find that the nurture effects of intelligence quotient and agreeableness are driven largely by fathers, while that of openness is driven by mothers.

Date: 2020
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