Which parental inputs mediate the causal effect of mothers' education on child skills
By the time children start school there is a gap in their skills which is causally linked to their parents' education. In this paper we explore the mechanisms for this relationship, asking which parental inputs both change in response to a reform to mothers' education and help to raise child skills. Our analysis confirms that there is a substantial increase in the cognitive and health skills of primary age children driven by an exogenous increase in mothers' education from raising of the school leaving age from 15 to 16. No significant effect was found for socio-emotional skills. We use a decomposition analysis to explore a large set of potential mediators. Results suggest that three measures of family resources including human capital accumulated by mothers pre-birth, family income and partner's education; along with three parental investments including health behaviour during pregnancy, monetary investments on educational toys and child's healthy diet are all important mediators in the relationship between mother's education and child cognitive skills.