Benefits of Scholarly Culture: Comparative Evidence from over 40 Societies over 50 Years

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 17:30
Oral Presentation
Joanna SIKORA, Australian National University, Australia
Mariah EVANS, University of Nevada, Reno, USA
Jonathan KELLEY, University of Nevada, Reno, USA
This presentation reviews the scholarship devoted to the theory of scholarly culture which stems from the critique of Bourdieu and explicates why coming from a book-oriented family benefits children's educational attainment, achievement and occupational standing. A growing body of evidence supports the proposition that book-oriented socialization, indicated by home library size, equips youth with competencies, skills and knowledge that are valued in formal education and by employers across the world and over time. This presentation reviews evidence supporting the theory from the World Inequality database, comprising mostly ISSP surveys, PISA surveys and PIAAC surveys for over 40 societies going back in time to 1950s. Scholarly culture enhances various forms of cognitive assets over individual life, in particular, adult literacy, numeracy and technological problem solving. Parental libraries boost adult skills in these areas net of the effects of adult education, occupation and parental schooling. The advantageous effects are loglinear, with greatest gains for the most disadvantaged although they tend to decay with age. Scholarly culture benefits equally and directly men and women and these benefits accrue in different economic systems and historical settings. We finish with the discussion of whether electronic forms of literacy are likely to wipe out the universal advantages of bookish upbringing.