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Parental Education, Grade Attainment and Earnings Expectations among University Students

Author

Listed:
  • Delaney, Liam

    () (University of Stirling)

  • Harmon, Colm P.

    () (University of Sydney)

  • Redmond, Cathy

    () (University College London)

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 P. & Redmond, Cathy, 2011. "Parental Education, Grade Attainment and Earnings Expectations among University Students," IZA Discussion Papers 5646, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5646
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    Cited by:

    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. 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.
    3. Estrada, Ricardo & Gignoux, Jérémie, 2014. "Benefits to elite schools and the formation of expected returns to education: Evidence from Mexico City," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1407, CEPREMAP.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. repec:erc:cypepr:v:11:y:2017:i:1:p:15-40 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. repec:zbw:rwirep:0377 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    inequality; education; socio-economic status; discrimination;

    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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