May 2012

No. 6570: Parental Education and Offspring Outcomes: Evidence from the Swedish Compulsory Schooling Reform

published in: American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2014, 6 (1), 253-278

In this paper, we exploit the Swedish compulsory schooling reform in order to estimate the causal effect of parental education on son's outcomes. We use data from the Swedish enlistment register on the entire population of males and focus on outcomes such as cognitive skills, non-cognitive skills, and various dimensions of health at the age of 18. We find significant and positive effects of maternal education on sons' skills and health status. Although the reform had equally strong effects on father's education as on mother's education, we find little evidence that paternal education improves son's outcomes.