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The Impact of Parenting Style on Children’s Educational Outcomes in the United States


This paper examines the causal link between parenting style and children’s educational outcomes. The existing literature seems to lack any effort to use a nationally representative data from the United States, to properly address endogeneity, or to examine educational outcomes beyond high school level. This paper attempts to mitigate these shortcomings. Drawing upon the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, it first used OLS and logit regression. It then applied the maximum simulated likelihood approach to get rid of endogeneity, thereby isolating the causal impact of parenting style on children’s educational outcomes. Findings suggested that parenting style mattered for children academic performance. Authoritative parenting style was found to be the best among all types of parenting style. Particularly, relative to uninvolved parents’ children, authoritatively reared children were predicted to have 1.1 more years of schooling and be 18.5, 13.6, and 16.3 percentage points more likely to obtain at least bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, and high school diploma, respectively. Also, they had 5.5 percentage points less likelihood of being high school dropouts than children reared by uninvolved parents.

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Fig. 1


  1. As defined by Darling and Steinberg (1993, p. 448), parenting style is the emotional climate created by parents within which socialization of children occurs. In other words, parenting style is a psychological strategy that parents adopt in rearing their children.

  2. Demandingness, in the words of Baumrind (1991), “refers to the claims parents make on children to become integrated into the family whole, by their maturity demands, supervision, disciplinary efforts and willingness to confront the child who disobeys” (pp. 61–62). Responsiveness, on the other hand, is defined by Baumrind as “the extent to which parents intentionally foster individuality, self-regulation, and self-assertion by being attuned, supportive, and acquiescent to children’s special needs and demands” (p. 62).

  3. The threat of endogeneity may come from at least three sources: simultaneity, unobserved heterogeneity, and measurement error.

  4. To estimate Eq. 6, the software package Stata 12 was used. The relevant Stata command is mtreatreg.


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Correspondence to Md. Alauddin Majumder.

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Majumder, M.A. The Impact of Parenting Style on Children’s Educational Outcomes in the United States. J Fam Econ Iss 37, 89–98 (2016).

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  • Parenting style
  • Educational outcomes
  • Maximum simulated likelihood
  • Endogeneity