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Inequalities in Educational Outcomes: How Important Is the Family?

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  • Bredtmann, Julia

    () (RWI)

  • Smith, Nina

    () (Aarhus University)

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate sibling correlations in educational outcomes, which serve as a broad measure of the importance of family and community background. Making use of rich longitudinal survey and register data for Denmark, our main aim is to identify the parental background characteristics that are able to explain the resemblance in educational outcomes among siblings. We find sibling correlations in educational outcomes in the range of 15 to 33 percent, suggesting that up to a third of the variation in educational achievement can be explained by family and community background. Our results further reveal that parents' socio-economic background can account for a large part of the sibling correlation. Other family characteristics such as family structure, the incidence of social problems, and parents' educational preferences also play a role, though these factors only contribute to explaining sibling similarities at lower levels of the educational distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Bredtmann, Julia & Smith, Nina, 2016. "Inequalities in Educational Outcomes: How Important Is the Family?," IZA Discussion Papers 10286, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10286
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    1. Sepahvand, Mohammad H. & Shahbazian, Roujman, 2018. "Sibling Correlation in Risk Attitudes: Evidence from Burkina Faso," Working Paper Series 2018:6, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    2. Carsten Andersen, 2019. "Intergenerational Health Mobility: Evidence from Danish Registers," Economics Working Papers 2019-04, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    intergenerational mobility; sibling correlations; education;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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