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The intergenerational transmission of education : new evidence from adoptions in the United States

Silles, Mary A.


Mary A. Silles


This article examines the influence of parental education on children’s grade-for-age using a large sample of adoptees drawn from the American Community Survey between 2008 and 2014. The results show that mother’s education is not an important determinant of the education of adopted children, despite statistically significant effects for own-birth children. The results for fathers are different. Among adopted white children, the effect of father’s education is shown to be a statistically significant determinant of grade retention. However, among black children, adoptive father’s education does not appear to have any discernible effect on children’s education. A range of sensitivity tests are undertaken to check the validity of these results. The differences in these patterns between white and black students suggest the presence of racial differences in the intergenerational transmission of education.


Silles, M. A. (2017). The intergenerational transmission of education : new evidence from adoptions in the United States. Economica, 84(336), 748-778.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 8, 2016
Online Publication Date May 17, 2017
Publication Date 2017-10
Deposit Date Jan 31, 2017
Publicly Available Date Feb 1, 2019
Journal Economica
Print ISSN 0013-0427
Electronic ISSN 1468-0335
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 84
Issue 336
Pages 748-778
Keywords Adoption; Education; Intergenerational mobility
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the accepted manuscript of an article published in Economica, 2017. The version of record is available at the DOI link in this record.


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