On the family origins of human capital: Evidence from donor-conceived children

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IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 22.05.2018, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Erik Plug (University of Amsterdam)


This paper introduces a novel strategy based on children conceived through either sperm or egg donation in IVF treatments to study the intergenerational persistence in human capital skills, net of genetic skill transfers between parents and children. For this purpose, we use unique Danish data on donor-conceived IVF children and estimate how their educational outcomes relate to the educational outcomes of their parents. Because donor assignment is effectively random, we can give the intergenerational human capital estimates a causal nurture interpretation. Once we take account of genes, we find that only mothers matter: the association between father's education and child test scores (in reading and math) is insignificant and small, whereas the association between mother's education and child test scores (in reading, not math) is significant and large, and as large as the association we estimate for mothers and non-donor conceived children

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