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The Declining Relative Importance Of Ability In Predicting Educational Attainment

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  • Fernando Galindo-Rueda
  • Anna Vignoles

Abstract

Most countries seek to reduce inequality by encouraging educational attainment, particularly by striving for better outcomes for able individuals from poor backgrounds. We analyse whether this has been a feature of Britain’s substantial expansion of education during the past several decades. We use two unique longitudinal studies to test whether these improvements have been associated with changes in the role of cognitive ability and parental background in determining educational achievement. We find a decline in the importance of ability in explaining educational performance, in part because low ability children with high economic status experienced the largest increases in educational attainment.
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  • Fernando Galindo-Rueda & Anna Vignoles, 2004. "The Declining Relative Importance Of Ability In Predicting Educational Attainment," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2004 40, Royal Economic Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:ac2004:40
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    1. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 2000. "The Returns to the Quantity and Quality of Education: Evidence for Men in England and Wales," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 67(265), pages 19-35, February.
    2. Arnaud Chevalier & Gauthier Lanot, 2002. "The Relative Effect of Family Characteristics and Financial Situation on Educational Achievement," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 165-181.
    3. 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.
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    1. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:1:p:187-201 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Heineck Guido & Riphahn Regina T., 2009. "Intergenerational Transmission of Educational Attainment in Germany – The Last Five Decades," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 229(1), pages 36-60, February.
    3. Andreou, Sofia N. & Koutsampelas, Christos, 2015. "Intergenerational mobility and equality of opportunity in higher education in Cyprus," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 80-87.
    4. Javier Valbuena, 2011. "Family background, gender and cohort effects on schooling decisions," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 6,in: Antonio Caparrós Ruiz (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 6, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 15, pages 258-290 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
    5. Perelman, Julian, 2014. "Are chronic diseases related to height? Results from the Portuguese National Health Interview Survey," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 56-66.
    6. Andrew Jones & Nigel Rice & Pedro Rosa Dias, 2012. "Quality of schooling and inequality of opportunity in health," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 369-394, April.
    7. Francesco Vona, 2011. "Does the Expansion of Higher Education Reduce Educational Inequality? Evidence from 12 European Countries," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2011-12, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    8. Lutz Hendricks & Christopher Herrington & Todd Schoellman, 2016. "The Changing Roles of Family Income and Academic Ability for US College Attendance," Working Papers 1602, VCU School of Business, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2017.
    9. Alessandro Tampieri, 2016. "Social background effects on school and job opportunities," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(5), pages 496-510, September.
    10. Galindo-Rueda, Fernando & Vignoles, Anna, 2004. "The Heterogeneous Effect of Selection in Secondary Schools: Understanding the Changing Role of Ability," IZA Discussion Papers 1245, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Tania Oliveira, 2006. "Tuition fees and admission standards: how do public and private universities really compete for students?," Discussion Papers in Economics 06/6, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    12. Pedro Rosa Dias, 2010. "Modelling opportunity in health under partial observability of circumstances," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(3), pages 252-264.
    13. Lindley, Joanne & McIntosh, Steven, 2015. "Growth in within graduate wage inequality: The role of subjects, cognitive skill dispersion and occupational concentration," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 101-111.
    14. Lindsey Macmillan, 2013. "The role of non-cognitive and cognitive skills, behavioural and educational outcomes in accounting for the intergenerational transmission of worklessness," DoQSS Working Papers 13-01, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    15. Regina Riphahn & Florian Schieferdecker, 2012. "The transition to tertiary education and parental background over time," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(2), pages 635-675, January.
    16. Andrew Jones & John Roemer & Pedro Rosa Dias, 2014. "Equalising opportunities in health through educational policy," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 43(3), pages 521-545, October.
    17. John V. Nye & Maksym Bryukhanov & Sergiy Polyachenko, 2016. "2d:4d and Lifetime Educational Outcomes: Evidence from the Russian RLMS Survey," HSE Working papers WP BRP 145/EC/2016, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    18. Paolo Li Donni & Juan Rodríguez & Pedro Rosa Dias, 2015. "Empirical definition of social types in the analysis of inequality of opportunity: a latent classes approach," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 44(3), pages 673-701, March.
    19. Javier Valbuena, 2011. "Family Background, Gender and Cohort Effects on Schooling Decisions," Studies in Economics 1114, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    20. Fernando Galindo-Rueda & Oscar Marcenaro-Gutierrez & Anna Vignoles, 2004. "The Widening Socio-Economic Gap in UK Higher Education," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 190(1), pages 75-88, October.
    21. Anirban Basu & Andrew M. Jones & Pedro Rosa Dias, 2014. "The Roles of Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills in Moderating the Effects of Mixed-Ability Schools on Long-Term Health," NBER Working Papers 20811, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Rita Asplund & Oussama Ben Adbelkarim & Ali Skalli, 2008. "An equity perspective on access to, enrolment in and finance of tertiary education," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(3), pages 261-274.
    23. Gonzalo Olcina Vauteren & Luisa Escriche, 2006. "Education And Family Income: Can Poor Children Signal Their Talent?," Working Papers. Serie AD 2006-20, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    24. O. D. Marcenaro-Gutierrez & M. Luque & L. A. Lopez-Agudo, 2016. "Balancing Teachers’ Math Satisfaction and Other Indicators of the Education System’s Performance," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(3), pages 1319-1348, December.

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