Intergenerational continuity in school performance: do grandparents matter?
2013 (English)In: European Sociological Review, ISSN 0266-7215, E-ISSN 1468-2672, Vol. 29, no 4, 858-870 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
We investigate whether present-day ninth grade students with top marks in Swedish and mathematics tend to descend from grandparents who did well in these school-subjects too. We also examine the extent to which such inheritance is domain-specific and works through the educational attainment of the previous two generations. The study is based on grandsons (n = 6,110) and granddaughters (n = 5,658) of subjects born in Uppsala 1915–1929. Results show that the odds of students receiving top marks in mathematics and Swedish tend to increase the higher the marks their grandparents achieved in these subjects. However, associations differ by the specific school-subject and according to the gender-specific intergenerational line of transmission. In broad terms, our results indicate that grandfathers are important for the transmission of mathematical and linguistic ability to their granddaughters and grandsons. Grandmothers appear to play a smaller role in the transmission of abilities, with the distinct exception of the transmission of linguistic ability from maternal grandmothers to their granddaughters. The fact that associations vary quite strongly according to type of ability and the gender-specific line of intergenerational transmission implies that we should be looking to historical context and learning environments rather than to a simple genetic transmission model to explain our findings.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 29, no 4, 858-870 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-93018DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcs064ISI: 000323047400014OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-93018DiVA: diva2:643834