Petter Lundborg, Lund University – Københavns Universitet

Petter Lundborg, Lund University

"On the Family Origins of Human Capital Formation: Evidence from Donor-conceived Children"

We study the intergenerational persistence in human capital skills, net of genetic skill transfers, using a novel strategy based on children conceived through either sperm or egg donation in IVF treatments. For this purpose, we use unique Danish data on donor-conceived IVF children and estimate how their educational outcomes relate to the educational outcomes of their parents. Because donor assignment is effectively random, we can give the intergenerational human capital estimates a causal nurture interpretation. Moreover, unlike traditional adoption studies on the topic, our nurture estimates capture prenatal and very early childhood influences. Once we take account of genes, we find that only mothers matter: the association between father's education and child test scores (in reading and math) is insignificantly small, whereas the association between mother's education and child test scores (in reading, not in math) is significantly large, and as large as the association we estimate for mothers of non-donor conceived children.

Contact person: Casper Worm Hansen