Parental education and child health: evidence from China

Pushkar Maitra, Monash University
Xiujian Peng, The University of Adelaide
Yaer Zhuang, China Population Information and Research Center (CPIRC)

This paper examines the effect of parental, household and community characteristics on the health of children in China. Of particular importance in our analysis is parental education and unobserved mother level heterogeneity (that affect all children born to the same mother). Our results show that (1) parental education generally has a strong effect on child health and mother’s educational attainment generally has a stronger effect on child health compared to father’s educational attainment; (2) a threshold level of education (more than primary schooling) has to be attained before parental education starts having a significant effect on child health and (3) failing to account for unobserved heterogeneity generally results in an underestimation of the effect of education on child health. Finally our results are indicative of significant discrimination against girls. Our research findings have important implications for both the family planning program and broader social policies in China.

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Presented in Poster Session 1