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Parental education, grade attainment and earnings expectations among university students

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  • Delaney, Liam
  • Harmon, Colm
  • Redmond, Cathy

Abstract

While there is an extensive literature on intergenerational transmission of economic outcomes (education, health and income for example), many of the pathways through which these outcomes are transmitted are not as well understood. We address this deficit by analysing the relationship between socio-economic status and child outcomes in university, based on a rich and unique dataset of university students. While large socio-economic differences in academic performance exist at the point of entry into university, these differences are substantially narrowed during the period of study. Importantly, the differences across socio-economic backgrounds in university grade attainment for female students is explained by intermediating variables such as personality, risk attitudes and time preferences, and subject/college choices. However, for male students, we explain less than half of the socio-economic gradient through these same pathways. Despite the weakening socio-economic effect in grade attainment, a key finding is that large socio-economic differentials in the earnings expectations of university students persist, even when controlling for grades in addition to our rich set of controls. Our findings pose a sizable challenge for policy in this area as they suggest that equalising educational outcomes may not translate into equal labour market outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Delaney, Liam & Harmon, Colm & Redmond, Cathy, 2011. "Parental education, grade attainment and earnings expectations among university students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1136-1152.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:30:y:2011:i:6:p:1136-1152
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2011.04.004
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    1. Filippin, Antonio & Paccagnella, Marco, 2012. "Family background, self-confidence and economic outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 824-834.
    2. Estrada, Ricardo & Gignoux, Jérémie, 2017. "Benefits to elite schools and the expected returns to education: Evidence from Mexico City," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 168-194.
    3. Paola Belingheri & Filippo Chiarello & Andrea Fronzetti Colladon & Paola Rovelli, 2021. "Twenty years of gender equality research: A scoping review based on a new semantic indicatorr," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 16(9), pages 1-27, September.
    4. F. Cugnata & G. Perucca & S. Salini, 2017. "Bayesian networks and the assessment of universities' value added," Journal of Applied Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(10), pages 1785-1806, July.
    5. Mohamed Siala & Nehed Ben Ammar, 2014. "Vocational and General Education of Girls and Boys in Tunisia: The Effects of Income and Parental Education," Eurasian Journal of Social Sciences, Eurasian Publications, vol. 2(1), pages 11-19.
    6. Giovanni Gallo & Claudia Garofoli, 2023. "Proxying the socio-economic background through real estate values. An application on performances of university students," Center for the Analysis of Public Policies (CAPP) 0184, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Economia "Marco Biagi".
    7. Ricardo Estrada & Jérémie Gignoux, 2014. "Benefits to elite schools and the formation of expected returns to education: Evidence from Mexico City," Working Papers halshs-00951763, HAL.
    8. Lee Pugalis & Anna Round & Tony Blackwood & Lucy Hatt, 2015. "The entrepreneurial middle ground: Higher education entry decisions of aspiring entrepreneurs," Local Economy, London South Bank University, vol. 30(5), pages 503-519, August.
    9. Maria Eliophotou Menon & Sofia N. Andreou & Elias Markadjis, 2020. "The expectations of prospective students regarding the economic returns to higher education: Evidence from Cyprus," Cyprus Economic Policy Review, University of Cyprus, Economics Research Centre, vol. 14(1), pages 41-56, June.
    10. Deniz Gevrek & Z Eylem Gevrek & Cahit Guven, 2015. "Benefits of Education at the Intensive Margin: Childhood Academic Performance and Adult Outcomes among American Immigrants," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 41(3), pages 298-328, June.
    11. Angela M. D’Uggento & Francesco D. d’Ovidio & Ernesto Toma & Rosa Ceglie, 2021. "A Framework for Detecting Factors Influencing Students’ Academic Performance: A Longitudinal Analysis," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 156(2), pages 389-407, August.
    12. Dong, Xiaoqi & Liang, Yinhe & Yu, Shuang, 2023. "Middle-achieving students are also my peers: The impact of peer effort on academic performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C).
    13. Heather Brown & Marjon van der Pol, 2014. "The Role Of Time Preferences In The Intergenerational Transfer Of Smoking," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(12), pages 1493-1501, December.
    14. Dickson, Matt & Harmon, Colm, 2011. "Economic returns to education: What We Know, What We Don’t Know, and Where We Are Going—Some brief pointers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1118-1122.
    15. Laura M. Crispin & Michael Kofoed, 2019. "Does Time To Work Limit Time To Play?: Estimating A Time Allocation Model For High School Students By Household Socioeconomic Status," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(3), pages 524-544, July.
    16. Maria Eliophotou & Nicoletta Pashourtidou, 2017. "Low Socioeconomic Status Students in Higher Education: Entry, Academic Attainment and Earnings Expectations," Cyprus Economic Policy Review, University of Cyprus, Economics Research Centre, vol. 11(1), pages 15-40, June.
    17. Ruder, Alexander I. & Van Noy, Michelle, 2017. "Knowledge of earnings risk and major choice: Evidence from an information experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 80-90.
    18. Kleibrink, Jan & Michaelsen, Maren M., 2012. "Reaching High: Occupational Sorting and Higher Education Wage Inequality in the UK," Ruhr Economic Papers 377, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    19. Sevket Alper Koc & Hakki Cenk Erkin, 2015. "Standards, Inequality in Education and Efficiency," World Journal of Applied Economics, WERI-World Economic Research Institute, vol. 1(1), pages 21-43, June.
    20. Herber, Stefanie P., 2018. "The role of information in the application for highly selective scholarships: Evidence from a randomized field experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 287-301.
    21. repec:zbw:rwirep:0377 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Carlos Vieira & Isabel Vieira & Luis Raposo, 2018. "Distance and academic performance in higher education," Spatial Economic Analysis, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 60-79, January.
    23. Jan Kleibrink & Maren M. Michaelsen, 2012. "Reaching High: Occupational Sorting and Higher Education Wage Inequality in the UK," Ruhr Economic Papers 0377, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Socio-economic status; Education; Inequality; Discrimination;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access

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