Parental Skills, Assortative Mating, and the Incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorder

69 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2021

See all articles by N. Meltem Daysal

N. Meltem Daysal

University of Southern Denmark

Todd E. Elder

Michigan State University

Judith K. Hellerstein

University of Maryland - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Scott A. Imberman

Michigan State University; Michigan State University - College of Education

Chiara Orsini

University of Sheffield; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics

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Abstract

We use rich administrative data from Denmark to assess medical theories that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a heritable condition transmitted through underlying parental skills. Positing that occupational choices reflect skills, we create two separate occupation-based skill measures and find that these measures are associated with ASD incidence among children, especially through the father's side. We also assess the empirical relevance of assortative mating based on skill, concluding that intertemporal changes in assortative mating explain little of the increase in ASD diagnoses in recent decades.

JEL Classification: I1, J1

Suggested Citation

Daysal, N. Meltem and Elder, Todd E. and Hellerstein, Judith K. and Imberman, Scott Andrew and Orsini, Chiara, Parental Skills, Assortative Mating, and the Incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorder. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14227, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3818637

N. Meltem Daysal (Contact Author)

University of Southern Denmark

Campusvej 55
DK-5230 Odense, 5000
Denmark

Todd E. Elder

Michigan State University ( email )

110 Marshall-Adams Hall
Department of Economics
East Lansing, MI 48824
United States
517-355-0353 (Phone)

Judith K. Hellerstein

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States
301-405-3545 (Phone)
301-405-3542 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Scott Andrew Imberman

Michigan State University ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

Michigan State University - College of Education ( email )

East Lansing, MI
United States

Chiara Orsini

University of Sheffield ( email )

17 Mappin Street
Sheffield, Sheffield S1 4DT
United Kingdom

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics ( email )

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