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Grades, Aspirations and Post-Secondary Education Outcomes


  • Christofides, Louis N.

    () (University of Cyprus)

  • Hoy, Michael

    () (University of Guelph)

  • Milla, Joniada

    () (Saint Mary’s University)

  • Stengos, Thanasis

    () (University of Guelph)


We explore the forces that shape the development of aspirations and the achievement of grades during high school and the role that these aspirations, grades, and other variables play in educational outcomes such as going to university and graduating. We find that parental expectations and peer effects have a significant impact on educational outcomes through grades, aspirations, and their interconnectedness, an issue explained in the context of a rich, longitudinal data set. Apart from this indirect path, parents and peers also influence educational outcomes directly. Policy measures that operate on parental influences may modify educational outcomes in desired directions.

Suggested Citation

  • Christofides, Louis N. & Hoy, Michael & Milla, Joniada & Stengos, Thanasis, 2012. "Grades, Aspirations and Post-Secondary Education Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 6867, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6867

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    1. Andreas Ammermueller & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Peer Effects in European Primary Schools: Evidence from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 315-348, July.
    2. Jacob M. Markman & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2003. "Does peer ability affect student achievement?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 527-544.
    3. Weili Ding & Steven F. Lehrer, 2007. "Do Peers Affect Student Achievement in China's Secondary Schools?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 300-312, May.
    4. Francis Kramarz & Stephen Machin & Amine Ouazad, 2008. "What Makes a Test Score ? The Respective Contributions of Pupils, Schools and Peers in Achievement in English Primary Education," Working Papers 2008-21, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    5. Vincent Boucher & Yann Bramoullé & Habiba Djebbari & Bernard Fortin, 2014. "Do Peers Affect Student Achievement? Evidence From Canada Using Group Size Variation," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(1), pages 91-109, January.
    6. Kelly Foley & Giovanni Gallipoli & David A. Green, 2014. "Ability, Parental Valuation of Education, and the High School Dropout Decision," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(4), pages 906-944.
    7. Lee, Lung-fei, 2007. "Identification and estimation of econometric models with group interactions, contextual factors and fixed effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(2), pages 333-374, October.
    8. Jane Friesen & Brian Krauth, 2010. "Sorting, peers, and achievement of Aboriginal students in British Columbia," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1273-1301, November.
    9. David J. Zimmerman, 2003. "Peer Effects in Academic Outcomes: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(1), pages 9-23, February.
    10. Statistics Canada, 2009. "Career Goals in High School: Do Students Know What It Takes to Reach Them, and Does It Matter?," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2009320e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    11. Statistics Canada, 2007. "Why Are Most University Students Women? Evidence Based on Academic Performance, Study Habits and Parental Influences," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2007303e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stöver, Britta, 2017. "Empirical evidence in explaining the transition behaviour from school to studies - challenges in forecasting the number of first-year students in Germany," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-596, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    2. Meyer, Tobias & Thomsen, Stephan L., 2012. "How Important is Secondary School Duration for Post-school Education Decisions? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-509, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    3. Milla, Joniada, 2017. "The Context-Bound University Selectivity Premium," IZA Discussion Papers 11025, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Johannes S. Kunz & Kevin E. Staub, 2016. "Subjective completion beliefs and the demand for post-secondary education," ECON - Working Papers 218, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    5. Jens Mohrenweiser & Friedhelm Pfeiffer, 2016. "Zur Entwicklung der studienspezifischen Selbstwirksamkeit in der Oberstufe
      [The development of study-specific self-efficacy during grammar school]
      ," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 49(1), pages 77-95, July.
    6. Tobias Meyer & Stephan L. Thomsen, 2016. "How Important Is Secondary School Duration for Postsecondary Education Decisions? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(1), pages 67-108.

    More about this item


    university attendance; aspirations; peers; parents; Canada;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General

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