Parental alcohol consumption and adult children's educational attainment

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Abstract

This study analyses whether an excessive parental alcohol consumption during childhood can affect long run children's educational attainments. Using 19 waves of the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS), where individuals and their families are followed from childhood to adulthood, this study analyses parental alcohol consumption during childhood (between 1994 and 2001) and its relation with children's educational attainment about twelve years later (from 2005 to 2014). Panel estimations show that mother's excessive alcohol consumption during childhood is consistently negatively associated with children educational outcomes, as years of education, the highest education grade achieved and the probability of having a tertiary education degree, a finding that is robust to possible endogeneity issues. In particular, while moderate drinking is not an issue, an additional standard glass of vodka (15.57 g of pure alcohol) consumed by the mother per day, reduces years of education by almost one year (0.88), and by 5.8 percentage points (or about 27%) the probability of having a university degree. The study also explores the transmission mechanisms suggested by the literature, identifying a significant role for prenatal exposure to alcohol and, to a lesser extent, for intergenerational transmission of drinking habits.

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