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Class Origin, Family Culture, and Intergenerational Correlation of Education in Rural China

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  • Hiroshi Sato
  • Li Shi

Abstract

This paper examines the intergenerational correlation of education in rural China. The focus is on the influence of family class origin (jiating chengfen), the political label hung on every family throughout the Maoist era. A nationally representative cross-sectional household survey for 2002 is used. It is shown that the effects of family class origin on family members' educational attainment varies across historical periods. Regarding the educational level of male heads of household with landlord/rich peasant background, we found a drop caused by the class-based discrimination in the Maoist era and a rebound in the postreform era. It was also found that family class origin remains significant for the educational achievement of the current younger generation. Children aged 16-18 who are of landlord/rich peasant and middle peasant origins are more likely to achieve higher educational attainment. We conclude that a class-specific, education-oriented family culture has been shaped first as a mixture of family cultural capital inherited from the pre-Maoist era and surfacing again in the postreform era, and, second, as intergenerational cultural reaction against class-based discrimination during the Maoist era.

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Paper provided by Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series with number gd08-007.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:hst:ghsdps:gd08-007

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Keywords: education; intergenerational correlation; class origin; family culture; social discrimination;

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  1. Lillard, L.A. & Willis, R.J., 1993. "Intergenerational Educational Mobility: Efects of Family and State in Malaysia," Papers 93-38, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  2. Fang,H. & Norman,P., 2001. "Government-mandated discriminatory policies," Working papers 12, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  3. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polachek, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 76-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Zhang, Linxiu & Huang, Jikun & Rozelle, Scott, 2002. "Employment, Emerging Labor Markets, And The Role Of Education In Rural China," Working Papers 11969, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  5. Nathan D. Grawe & Casey B. Mulligan, 2002. "Economic Interpretations of Intergenerational Correlations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 45-58, Summer.
  6. John Whalley & Shunming Zhang, 2004. "Inequality Change in China and (Hukou) Labour Mobility Restrictions," NBER Working Papers 10683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Song, Lina & Appleton, Simon & Knight, John, 2006. "Why Do Girls in Rural China Have Lower School Enrollment?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 1639-1653, September.
  8. Robert Erikson & John H. Goldthorpe, 2002. "Intergenerational Inequality: A Sociological Perspective," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 31-44, Summer.
  9. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
  10. Appleton, Simon & Song, Lina & Xia, Qingjie, 2005. "Has China crossed the river? The evolution of wage structure in urban China during reform and retrenchment," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 644-663, December.
  11. Hanming Fang & Peter Norman, 2006. "Government-Mandated Discriminatory Policies: Theory And Evidence," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(2), pages 361-389, 05.
  12. Yaohui Zhao, 1997. "Labor Migration and Returns to Rural Education in China," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(4), pages 1278-1287.
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Cited by:
  1. Zhao Chen & Ming Lu & Hiroshi Sato, 2009. "Social Networks and Labor Market Entry Barriers: Understanding Inter-industrial Wage Differentials in Urban China," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd09-084, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  2. Zhao Chen & Shiqing Jiang & Ming Lu & Hiroshi Sato, 2008. "How do Heterogeneous Social Interactions affect the Peer Effect in Rural-Urban Migration?:Empirical Evidence from China," LICOS Discussion Papers 22408, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.

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