August 22, 2008
Education and Inequality
I just came across this fascinating paper from 2007 on The Inheritance of Educational Inequality, by six young economists and published in the BE Press Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy. The paper uses regression techniques to estimate 50-year trends in the intergenerational persistence of educational attainment for a sample of 42 nations around the globe. It shows, interestingly, that the causal relationship between parents and childs educational attainment and status have been constant, but the size of the effect has gradually decreased in many countries. Still, there are large regional differences in educational persistence, with Latin America displaying the highest intergenerational correlations and the Nordic countries the lowest.
The paper seems relevant for some of Dezalay and Garth's law and society work on the use of law as an intergenerational status transmission device. Their excellent book The Internationalization of the Palace Wars, focused on Latin America, but the story may not be universally applicable if (legal) education is a more important status transmission device in that region than in others. They are apparently working on a book on Asia which will be of great interest.
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