Intergenerational Education Mobility

Effects of Family and State in Malaysia

by Lee A. Lillard, Robert Willis


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In this paper, the authors explore evidence concerning the relationship between parents' and children's education using a new body of data, the Second Malaysian Family Life Survey (MFLS-2), which contains information on the education of as many as four generations within a given family. These data allow the authors to study the spread of education in Malaysia over much of this century by examining the educational attainment of birth cohorts from 1910 to 1980. More significantly, the authors use these data to study the effects of parental education on the progress of their children through elementary, secondary, and post-secondary school within a sequential discrete-time hazard model, which allows for correlations among unmeasured family and individual-specific components. For a subset of the cohorts, the authors are able to introduce time-varying covariates to measure a family's economic circumstances, the quality of its environment, and the composition of the subset at the time a given decision is made.

Originally published in: The Journal of Human Resources, v. 29, no. 4, Fall 1994, pp. 1126-1166.

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