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The intergenerational effects of parental higher education: Evidence from changes in university accessibility

Tuomo Suhonen and Hannu Karhunen

No 100, Working Papers from VATT Institute for Economic Research

Abstract: We examine the causal effect of parental higher education on their offspring’s education, using quasi-experimental variation from the significant regional convergence in parents’ access to university occurring in Finland between 1955 and 1975, which was advanced by political decisions to expand the university system to all parts of the country. Our differences-in-differences estimates suggest that, for the children of parents affected by the changes in university accessibility, there is a strong positive intergenerational relationship in higher education attainment. We explore the potential mechanisms behind the intergenerational effects and find that, due to assortative mating, the effect of a mother’s higher education may be greatly overstated if estimated separately from that of a father’s higher education.

Keywords: intergenerational transmission of education; higher education; university accessibility; Labour markets and education; I23; J62 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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Date: 2017
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