Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Moore School of Business



First Advisor

McKinley Blackburn


While several studies have suggested the importance of maternal schooling to children's outcomes during childhood, less is known about the role when the child is older. In the first chapter, I estimate the relationship between maternal education and children's college attendance. After developing a theoretical model to consider the transmission of education across generations, I use the NLSY79 Child and Young Adult Surveys for empirical analysis. College proximity is used as an instrument for mother's schooling. All else equal, results suggest that maternal schooling significantly increases a child's probability of attending college by about 2 to 3 percentage points. The impact is greater for a child whose mother has lower cognitive ability, but does not seem to differ between sons and daughters. There is little evidence of endogeneity bias for mother's education as long as family income is included in the controls. Later cognitive stimulation (between 10-14) and early emotional support (under 3) are found to have a positive and significant effect on the child's college attendance decision.

Then the relationship between maternal schooling and children's high school outcomes is investigated in the second chapter. Three outcomes are high school completion, high school diploma receipt and high school graduation grades. Using changes of compulsory attendance laws as instruments for mother's high school completion, the results suggest that mother's education is exogenous in the estimation of high school completion. Having a mother with at least a high school education will increase her child's probability of completing high school by 8 percentage points. While mother's schooling and family income have significant effects for all three outcomes, mother's cognitive ability is only meaningful to the outcome of grades. The effect of mother's high school completion is similar for sons and daughters, wealthy and poor families, and mothers with different cognitive abilities.

Besides intergenerational transmission of education, I also work with Prof. Ozturk on occupational promotion. We found that, in models with no controls for individual unobserved factors, females are less likely to be promoted in highly female jobs. Males on the other hand are more likely to be promoted in these jobs compared to their male counterparts in jobs with lower percentage of females. However, the role of occupational feminization is no longer significant once unobserved heterogeneity is controlled for along with the skills/ task measures of an occupation. We do find overall wages to be lower for everyone in jobs with a female majority. However, there are no significant differences in the return to promotion by gender once occupational measures are controlled for, even though the occupational wage gap due to feminization persists.

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