Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Intergenerational Effects of Early Health and Human Capital
by Jenkins, Stuart Takiar, Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2015, 143; 3705276
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines the intergenerational effects of maternal early health, the intergenerational effects of maternal education and the distributional effects of school size.

Chapter 1 is an introduction that summarizes the contributions made in this dissertation. Chapter 2 examines a new question with important implications: Does a mother's early health affect her child's human capital development? My coauthor and I use two extremely different and established methodologies to identify variation in mothers' early health: variation in early life disease environment and variation in early life economic environment. We connect children to the environments experienced by their mothers using the state, month and year of maternal birth that appears on each child's birth record. To identify children's outcomes later in life, we connect their birth records to their 3rd through 10th grade school records using a high quality algorithm that relies on first and last names, exact dates of birth and social security numbers. We find that a one standard deviation improvement in maternal early health improves 10th grade test performance in the following generation by .07 to .08 standard deviations.

Chapter 3 examines the intergenerational effects of maternal education. My coauthor and I use variation in compulsory schooling laws across states and over time to identify exogenous variation in maternal education; we estimate local average treatment effects using Two-Stage Least Squares instrumental variables estimations. We connect children to the environments experienced by their mothers using the state, month and year of maternal birth that appears on each child's birth record. To identify children's outcomes later in life, we connect their birth records to their 3rd through 10 th grade school records using a high quality algorithm that relies on first and last names, exact dates of birth and social security numbers. We find an additional year of maternal education improves 3rd grade test performance in the following generation by .31 standard deviations on average and that this relationship is driven by children born to white mothers.

Chapter 4 uses state-wide, student-level data from Illinois to examine the distributional effects of school size. I apply two established strategies to identify variation in school size; I use population-level panels of data to identify year-to-year changes in enrollment within schools and I exploit variation induced by school openings. I find smaller schools simultaneously improve average ACT achievement in 11th grade and close achievement gaps between more and less advantaged students. Specifically, a 20 percent decrease in school size improves students' ACT performance by 1 percent on average and improves ACT performance by 1.5 percent on average for African American students that receive free or reduced price lunch.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Figlio, David N.
Commitee: Guryan, Jonathan, Schanzenbach, Diane W.
School: Northwestern University
Department: Social Policy to Education and Social Policy - Human Development and Social Policy
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 76/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Economics, Labor economics, Public policy
Keywords: Early health, Human capital, Intergenerational, Maternal health, Mothers education, Mothers health
Publication Number: 3705276
ISBN: 9781321781724
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