Tag Archives | Educational Attainment

Persistent Educational Advantage Across Three Generations: Empirical Evidence for Germany

Andrea Ziefle

Sociological Science, December 12, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a47

This article uses survey data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) to analyze the persistence of educational attainment across three generations in Germany. I obtain evidence of a robust effect of grandparents’ education on respondents’ own educational attainment in West Germany, net of parental class, education, occupational status, family income, parents’ relationship history, and family size. I also test whether the grandparent effect results from resource compensation or cumulative advantage and find empirical support for both mechanisms. In comparison, the intergenerational association between grandparents’ and respondents’ education is considerably weaker in East Germany and is also mediated completely by parental education. There are hardly any gender differences in the role of grandparents for respondents’ educational attainment, except for the fact that resource compensation is found to be exclusively relevant for women’s attainment in both West Germany and in East Germany after German reunification and the associated transition to an open educational system.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Andrea Ziefle: School of Social Sciences (FB03), Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main
Email: aziefle@soz.uni-frankfurt.de

Acknowledgements: The data from the German Socio-Economic Panel survey have kindly been made available by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), Berlin. DIW bears no responsibility for the uses made of the data in the analyses reported in the present manuscript. This research has been supported by a research grant from the German Science Foundation (DFG) to the author for her project, “Family background and women’s changing life courses” (ZI 1495/1-1). I thank Markus Gangl for valuable comments on my work.

  • Citation: Ziefle, Andrea. 2016. “Persistent Educational Advantage Across Three Generations: Empirical Evidence for Germany.” Sociological Science 3: 1077-1102.
  • Received: September 14, 2016
  • Accepted: October 6, 2016
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Kim Weeden
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a47

The Bell Curve Revisited: Testing Controversial Hypotheses with Molecular Genetic Data

Dalton Conley, Benjamin Domingue

Sociological Science, July 5, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a23

In 1994, the publication of Herrnstein’s and Murray’s The Bell Curve resulted in a social science maelstrom of responses. In the present study, we argue that Herrnstein’s and Murray’s assertions were made prematurely, on their own terms, given the lack of data available to test the role of genotype in the dynamics of achievement and attainment in U.S. society. Today, however, the scientific community has access to at least one dataset that is nationally representative and has genome-wide molecular markers. We deploy those data from the Health and Retirement Study in order to test the core series of propositions offered by Herrnstein and Murray in 1994. First, we ask whether the effect of genotype is increasing in predictive power across birth cohorts in the middle twentieth century. Second, we ask whether assortative mating on relevant genotypes is increasing across the same time period. Finally, we ask whether educational genotypes are increasingly predictive of fertility (number ever born [NEB]) in tandem with the rising (negative) association of educational outcomes and NEB. The answers to these questions are mostly no; while molecular genetic markers can predict educational attainment, we find little evidence for the proposition that we are becoming increasingly genetically stratified.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Dalton Conley: Department of Sociology, Princeton University
Email: dconley@princeton.edu

Benjamin Domingue: Graduate School of Education, Stanford University
Email: bdomingue@stanford.edu

Acknowledgements: Funding for this study was provided by the Russell Sage Foundation, Grant 83-15-29. This research uses data from the HRS, which is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (Grants NIA U01AG009740, RC2AG036495, and RC4AG039029) and conducted by the University of Michigan.

  • Citation: Conley, Dalton, and Benjamin Domingue. 2016. “The Bell Curve Revisited: Testing Controversial Hypotheses with Molecular Genetic Data.” Sociological Science 3: 520-539.
  • Received: January 19, 2016
  • Accepted: February 22, 2016
  • Editors: Stephen Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a23

Age Trajectories of Poverty During Childhood and High School Graduation

Dohoon Lee

Sociological Science, September 1, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a21

This article examines distinct trajectories of childhood exposure to poverty and provides estimates of their effect on high school graduation. The analysis incorporates three key insights from the life course and human capital formation literatures: (1) the temporal dimensions of exposure to poverty, that is, timing, duration, stability, and sequencing, are confounded with one another; (2) age-varying exposure to poverty not only affects, but also is affected by, other factors that vary with age; and (3) the effect of poverty trajectories is heterogeneous across racial and ethnic groups. Results from the Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth show that any extended exposures to poverty substantially lower children’s odds of graduating from high school. Persistent, early, and middle-to-late childhood exposures to poverty reduce the odds of high school graduation by 77 percent, 55 percent, and 58 percent, respectively, compared to no childhood exposure to poverty. The findings thus suggest that the impact of poverty trajectories is insensitive to observed age-varying confounders. These impacts are more pronounced for white children than for black and Hispanic children.

Dohoon Lee:New York University. E-mail: dl111@nyu.edu

  • Citation: Lee, Dohoon. 2014. “Age trajectories of poverty during childhood and high school graduation.” Sociological Science 1: 344-365.
  • Received: May 22, 2014
  • Accepted: June 12, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Stephen L. Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a21