Impact of parental education on children's development
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Parents' education, and in particular, mother's education is shown to have a positive effect on their children's outcomes. However, questions on its causality, channels by which the effect transmits and the relative importance of each parent's education still remain. These issues are very important from a policy standpoint. In this dissertation, we address them using children between the ages of 5 and 14 from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY-79) and its Child Supplement (CNLSY). We decompose the causal effects of maternal education into direct and indirect channels. Ours is the first study on intergenerational returns to education to do this decomposition. We utilize child fixed effects to account for endogeneity of maternal schooling and other inputs due to unobserved time invarying characteristics. Hausman tests indicate that fixed effects are indeed needed. Our results show that an additional year of mother's schooling causally increases Math and Reading test scores and reduces a child's risk of being overweight. Additionally, direct effects of maternal education are more important for Math, Reading and probability of a child at risk of being overweight; while indirect effects are more important for Behavioral problems. Lastly, we find that role of the father figure in the family differs by family structure. In families where father is the biological father, mother's education is equally important as the father's. However, when father isn't biological, mother's education is more important for behavioral outcomes.