Does Mother’s Schooling Matter Most? Parental Resources at Marriage and Child Schooling Outcomes in Rural Bangladesh
Julia Behrman, New York University (NYU)
This paper engages with the large body of literature that suggests mother’s schooling is the most important predictor of offspring schooling attainment in many developing country contexts. I problematize the way in which the literature has conceptualized and explored the relationship between mother’s schooling and the schooling of the next generation and provide insight into whether previous estimates are biased using a unique panel data set from rural Bangladesh that includes information on maternal and paternal assets owned prior to marriage, a gender disaggregated measure of wealth that is exogenous to decision making in marriage. A series of nested cox-proportional hazard models explore what factors predict the age at which children enter and exit from school. Evidence indicates maternal schooling is indeed a powerful predictor of schooling attainment in the next generation even after controlling for paternal schooling, men’s and women’s pre-marital wealth and children’s receipt of educational subsidies.