Parental Investments in Schooling

The Roles of Gender and Resources in Urban Brazil

by Duncan Thomas, Robert F. Schoeni, John Strauss

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There have been dramatic increases in educational attainment in Brazil over the last half century. These increases have been especially rapid for women who are, today, better educated than men. The importance of the education and income of mothers and fathers in explaining this growth is explored. Relative to paternal education, maternal education has a bigger impact on schooling of children and it has a bigger impact on education of daughters, relative to sons. In contrast, paternal education has a bigger impact on schooling of sons relative to daughters. One explanation for these differences is that parents do not pool incomes when allocating household resources. That hypothesis is tested by comparing the differential impact of maternal income on schooling of her daughters relative to her sons with differences in the impact of paternal income on the education of his sons relative to his daughters. After controlling for a household fixed effect, these "differences-in-differences" are significant indicating that income-pooling is not consistent with the data.

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