The Schooling of Adult Children and the Smoking Cessations of Their Parents in China

Liyang Xie , University of Maryland
Yi Zhou, University of California, Berkeley
Michel Boudreaux, University of Maryland

The upward intergenerational transmission of health from children to parents is increasingly important because the elder parents today will live with their children for a period longer than ever before. Then, are parents of well-educated children have a healthier lifestyle? The answer is indefinite in theory. On one side, well-educated children can transfer more economic resources to parents and then their parents can afford more cigarettes and alcohol. On the other, well-educated children have more health knowledge, which can spill over to their parents. Using China’s compulsory schooling reform in the mid-1980s as a quasi-experiment, this study examines the causal effects of children's schooling on parents’ smoking behaviors. The instrumental variables estimations show that the likelihood of parents’ smoking cessation increases with children’s schooling. Such a spillover effect, which is mainly driven by daughters, is especially stronger among parents with less schooling.

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 Presented in Session 11. Health & Mortality 2