The Intergenerational Transmission of Schooling: Are Mothers Really Less Important than Fathers?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


There is a “puzzle” in the literature on the intergenerational transmission of schooling, where twin studies emphasize the importance of fathers’ schooling, whereas IV-studies often emphasize the importance of mothers. We provide new evidence on this “puzzle” using register based Swedish data on the largest sample of twins used so far in the literature. In contrast to previous twin studies, our results confirm the importance of mothers’ schooling. We also provide the first twin-based evidence of possible role model effects, where our estimates suggest that mother's schooling matters more than father's schooling for daughters schooling. One additional year of mothers’ schooling raises daughter's schooling by a tenth of a year, which is similar to some of the previous IV-based estimates in the literature. Finally, we bring in new US twin data that for the first time allows a replication of previous twin-based estimates of the intergenerational transmission of schooling in the US. The results show no statistically significant effect of mothers’ and fathers’ schooling on children's schooling. Our results have implications for assessing the efficiency of policies that subsidize the schooling of men and women and are in contrast to most previous findings in the twin literature.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economics and Business


  • Twins, Intergenerational mobility, Education, Schooling, Twin-fixed effects
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-117
JournalEconomics of Education Review
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

30 April 2015