Cumulative Advantage in the Intergenerational Transmission of Education: Quantities and Qualities

Megan Andrew, University of Wisconsin at Madison

The transmission of educational attainments has drawn interest in the sociological and economic literatures since at least the early part of the last century. Both disciplines have neglected major changes in the U.S. postsecondary educational system potentially related to intergenerational educational inequalities, however. Beginning in the 1960s, the postsecondary system experienced increased institutional differentiation. In tandem with these changes, scholars note differential economic and social returns to individual’s education, not only by years of education but by the kind of education. I use national data for mother-child pairs from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979 to explore how these different dimensions operate in the intergenerational transmission of education. Specifically, I use stereotype and other discrete outcome models with latent variables to explore the effects of various types and levels of mother’s education on the various types and levels of their children’s education and how these relationships may vary across time and by key social groups.

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Presented in Session 143: Intergenerational Mobility