Parental Wealth & Educational Inequality

Article published: 24.06.2020

Parental wealth is often ignored in research on social inequality in education, or its influence is only considered at later stages of children’s educational careers. This  paper contributes to this research by examining the relationship between parental wealth and (1) children’s math competences at the beginning of primary school; (2) the development of children’s competences throughout primary school; and (3) children’s transition from primary to secondary school. Analyzing data from the German National Educational Panel Study, findings show that parental wealth has a distinct association with children’s educational outcomes that adds to social disparities by other measures of parents’ socioeconomic status (SES). Results indicate that children in wealthy households have higher competences already in the first grade. This ...

... advantage remains stable throughout primary school and translates into a higher probability to attend the highest secondary school track. Moreover, children in these wealthy households are more likely to attend the highest secondary school track, net of differences in competences and performance. These results imply that ignoring wealth as a component of parental SES leads to an underestimation of the level of social inequality in education in Germany.

Jascha Dräger, Nora Müller (2020): Wealth Stratification in the Early School Career in Germany. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility Online First (gated, see link here).

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