ERIC Number: ED475202
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002-Nov
Mother's Education and the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital: Evidence from College Openings and Longitudinal Data. NBER Working Paper Series.
Currie, Janet; Moretti, Enrico
This study estimates the effect of maternal education on birth outcomes using data from the Vital Statistics Natality files for 1970 to 1999. It also assesses the importance of four potential channels through which maternal education may improve birth outcomes: use of prenatal care, smoking behavior, marriage, and fertility. In an effort to account for unobserved characteristics of women that could induce spurious correlation, the study pursues two distinct empirical strategies. First, it constructs panel data by linking women in different years of the Vital Statistics records and examines the effects of changes in education on changes in birth outcomes. Second, it compiles a new data set on openings of two and four year colleges between 1940 and 1990. The study uses data about the availability of colleges in the woman's county in her 17th year as an instrument for maternal education. Findings using the two approaches are similar. Higher maternal education improves infant health, as measured by birthweight and gestational age. It also increases the probability that a new mother is unmarried, reduces fertility, increases use of prenatal care, and reduces smoking, suggesting that these are important pathways for the ultimate effect on health. (Contains 43 references.) (SM)
Descriptors: Access to Education, Child Health, Educational Attainment, Health Behavior, Higher Education, Human Capital, Infants, Marital Status, Mothers, Parent Influence, Prenatal Care, Smoking, Womens Education
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138. Web site: http://www.nber.org.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA.