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Education and the reproduction of economic inequality in the United States: An empirical investigation

  • Rumberger, Russell W.
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    This study investigates the relationship between family background and both college completion and earnings for a cohort of young adults. The study is based on sample of 8901 respondents from the National Education Longitudinal Study who were first surveyed as eighth graders in 1988 and last surveyed 12 years later and who were working and not attending school at the time of the last survey. The study finds that social class background has a powerful effect on college completion. The odds of completing college for a student from a high SES background are more than six times higher than for a student from a lower social class background, even when controlling for other predictors such as test scores, grades, and college expectations. The effect of social class background on young adult earnings is more modest, but consistent with other studies. In both cases, the relationship varies widely among gender and racial and ethnic groups.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VB9-4WXBMDB-1/2/cceba07f3d24c5315b5927aec4dc8eb2
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

    Volume (Year): 29 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 2 (April)
    Pages: 246-254

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:29:y:2010:i:2:p:246-254
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

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    1. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 257-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Carnoy, Martin, 1996. "Education and racial inequality: The human capital explanation revisited," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 259-272, June.
    3. Becker, Gary S, 1988. "Family Economics and Macro Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 1-13, March.
    4. Grogger, Jeff, 1996. "Does School Quality Explain the Recent Black/White Wage Trend?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(2), pages 231-53, April.
    5. Bhashkar Mazumder, 2005. "Fortunate Sons: New Estimates of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States Using Social Security Earnings Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 235-255, May.
    6. Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
    7. Yona Rubinstein & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Importance of Noncognitive Skills: Lessons from the GED Testing Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 145-149, May.
    8. Arleen Leibowitz, 1974. "Home Investments in Children," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 432-456 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2002. "The Inheritance of Inequality," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 3-30, Summer.
    10. 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.
    11. Bhashkar Mazumder, 2008. "Sibling similarities and economic inequality in the US," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 685-701, July.
    12. Arleen Leibowitz, 1974. "Home Investments in Children," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 111-135 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Dynamics of Educational Attainment for Black, Hispanic, and White Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 455-499, June.
    14. Leibowitz, Arleen, 1974. "Home Investments in Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S111-S131, Part II, .
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