Intergenerational transmission of education in China

Working Paper 2016-415


This paper has three objectives. First, we present the mobility pattern for intergenerational education persistence. Second, we estimate the effect of parental education on children education by using instruments generated by the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and further explore the mechanisms of this causal relationship. Third, this study aims to investigate the impact of two education reforms on intergenerational transmission of education, including the Compulsory Education Law and college expansion reform. Although mobility seems increasing for the newer generation, the lowest mobility is found in rural areas for the lowest-educated group. Fathers’ education has a significant impact on children education through the nurture effect, which is almost entirely driven by father’s income. Finally, we find that popularizing compulsory education did not have a expected effect on increasing mobility. Moreover, the college expansion policy indeed reduces the intergenerational education mobility in urban areas, but this effect is not found in rural areas.

Authors: Jingyi Huang, Yumei Guo, Yang Song.

Keywords: intergenerational education mobility, nurture effect, education reforms, China.
JEL: H5, I2, O1.