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Family Income and Educational Attainment: A Review of Approaches and Evidence for Britain

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  • Jo Blanden

Abstract

It is widely recognized that, on average, children from poorer backgrounds have worse educational outcomes than their better-off peers. There is less evidence on how this relationship has changed over time and, indeed, what exactly leads to these inequalities. In this paper we demonstrate that the correlation between family background (as measured by family income) and educational attainment has been rising between children born in the late 1950s and those born two decades later. We then consider the extent to which these associations are due to the causal effects of income rather than the result of other dimensions of family background. We review the approaches taken to answering this question, drawing mainly on the US literature, and then present our own evidence from the UK, discussing the plausible range for the true impact of income on education. Our results indicate that income has a causal relationship with educational attainment. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Review of Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 20 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (Summer)
Pages: 245-263

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:20:y:2004:i:2:p:245-263

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  1. Jo Blanden & Alissa Goodman & Paul Gregg & Stephen Machin, 2002. "Changes in Intergenerational Mobility in Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0517, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Jo Blanden & Stephen Machin, 2004. "Educational Inequality and the Expansion of UK Higher Education," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 51(2), pages 230-249, 05.
  3. Jens Ludwig & Greg J. Duncan & Paul Hirschfield, 2001. "Urban Poverty And Juvenile Crime: Evidence From A Randomized Housing-Mobility Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(2), pages 655-679, May.
  4. Gibbons, Steve & Machin, Stephen, 2003. "Valuing English primary schools," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 197-219, March.
  5. Elizabeth Clark-Kauffman & Greg J. Duncan & Pamela Morris, 2003. "How Welfare Policies Affect Child and Adolescent Achievement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 299-303, May.
  6. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Stephen Machin, 2003. "Changes in Educational Inequality," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/079, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  7. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
  8. Paul Gregg & Susan Harkness & Stephen Machin, 1999. "Poor kids: trends in child poverty in Britain, 1968-96," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 20(2), pages 163-187, June.
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