IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

What Explains the Educational Attainment Gap between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Youth?


  • Frenette, Marc


Aboriginal people generally have lower levels of educational attainment than other groups in Canada, but little is known about the reasons behind this gap. This study is the second of two by the same author investigating the issue in detail. The first paper (Frenette 2011) concludes that the labour market benefits to pursuing further schooling are generally not lower for Aboriginal people than for non-Aboriginal people. This second paper takes a more direct approach to the subject by examining the gap in educational attainment between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth using the Youth in Transition Survey (YITS), Cohort A. Aboriginal people who live on-reserve or in the North are excluded from the YITS and, thus, from this analysis. The results of the analysis show that most (90 percent) of the university attendance gap among high school graduates is associated with differences in relevant academic and socio-economic characteristics. The largest contributing factor among these is academic performance (especially differences in performance on scholastic, as opposed to standardized, tests). Differences in parental income account for very little of the university attendance gap, even when academic factors are excluded from the models (and thus do not absorb part of the indirect effect of income). Differences in academic and socio-economic characteristics explain a smaller proportion of the gap in high school completion than in university attendance.

Suggested Citation

  • Frenette, Marc, 2011. "What Explains the Educational Attainment Gap between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Youth?," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2011-13, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 27 Jun 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:ubc:clssrn:clsrn_admin-2011-13

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Frenette, Marc, 2011. "Are the Labour Market Benefits to Schooling Different for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal People," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2011-17, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 27 Jul 2011.
    2. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
    3. Peter George & Peter Kuhn, 1994. "The Size and Structure of Native-White Wage Differentials in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 27(1), pages 20-42, February.
    4. John Richards & Jennifer Hove & Kemi Afolabi, 2008. "Understanding the Aboriginal/Non-Aboriginal Gap in Student Performance: Lessons From British Columbia," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 276, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Educational attainment; Aboriginal;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ubc:clssrn:clsrn_admin-2011-13. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Vivian Tran). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.