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Does Parental Quality Matter? Evidence on the Transmission of Human Capital Using Variation in Parental Influence from Death, Divorce, and Family Size

Eric Gould, Avi Simhon and Bruce A. Weinberg

Journal of Labor Economics, 2020, vol. 38, issue 2, 569 - 610

Abstract: This paper examines the transmission of human capital from parents to children using variation in parental influence due to parental death, divorce, and the increasing specialization of parental roles in larger families. All three sources of variation yield strikingly similar patterns that show that the strong parent-child correlation in human capital is largely causal. In each case, the parent-child correlation in education is stronger with the parent who spends more time with the child and weaker with the parent who spends relatively less time parenting. These findings help us understand why educated parents spend more time with their children.

Date: 2020
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