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