Intergenerational transmission of human capital: is it a one-way street?

Petter Lundborg, Kaveh Majlesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Studies on the intergenerational transmission of human capital usually assume a one-way spillover from parents to children. However, children may also affect their parents’ human capital. Using exogenous variation in education, arising from a Swedish compulsory schooling reform in the 1950s and 1960s, we address this question by studying the causal effect of children's schooling on their parents’ longevity. We first replicate previous findings of a positive and significant cross-sectional relationship between children's education and their parents’ longevity. Our instrumental variables estimates are not statistically different from zero. However, they hide substantial heterogeneity by the gender of the child and the parent; female schooling is found to affect longevity of fathers and especially those from low socio-economic background. Taken together, our results point to the importance of daughters’ schooling for parental health and to the importance of considering heterogeneous impacts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-220
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Health Economics
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Education
  • Health
  • Intergenerational transmission
  • Mobility
  • Mortality

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