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Is it enough to be bright? Parental background, cognitive ability and educational attainment
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI).
2016 (English)In: European Societies: The Official Journal of the European Sociological Association, ISSN 1461-6696, E-ISSN 1469-8307, Vol. 18, no 2, 117-135 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Do separate factors of the social background – parental education, social class, social status and earnings – affect educational attainment independently of each other and to what extent is the association between these background factors and educational attainment transmitted via cognitive ability? Close to 28,000 randomly selected Swedish school children participated in a test of cognitive ability at age 13. Information on the four origin factors and on the children’s highest level of education was collected from Swedish registers with few missing data. The data were analysed by means of ordinary least squares regression. Parental education and social class are more highly associated with educational attainment than parental status and earnings, but all four factors have an effect on level of education independently of each other and of cognitive ability at age 13. Between 16 and 19 percent of the variance in education is accounted for by the social origin factors. Around one third of the effects of the origin factors is transmitted via cognitive ability. The paper ends with a short discussion of possible mechanisms, other than cognitive ability, that link social background with education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 18, no 2, 117-135 p.
Keyword [en]
Educational attainment, parental education, parents’ social class, parents’ social status, parental earnings, cognitive ability
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-129781DOI: 10.1080/14616696.2016.1141306ISI: 000377097000001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-129781DiVA: diva2:924864
Available from: 2016-04-29 Created: 2016-04-29 Last updated: 2016-07-04Bibliographically approved

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Erikson, Robert
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The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI)
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