The Stratification of Intergenerational Alignment of Educational Expectations

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 10:45
Oral Presentation
Hye Won AHN, University of Iowa, USA
SuYeong SHIN, University of Iowa, USA
David BILLS, University of Iowa, USA
Building on research on the role of educational expectations in status attainment (Sewell, Haller, and Portes 1969). Kim and Schneider (2005) conceptualized intergenerational alignment of educational expectations. They reported that the alignment of parents’ and adolescents’ goals and actions could play a crucial role in the intergenerational transmission of social capital, thus increasing educational attainment.

While we accept the importance of aligned expectations on social attainment, we argue the need to consider heterogeneity by socioeconomic status (SES) in order to better understand the patterns and roles of intergenerational alignment of educational expectations. We focus on whether the probability of aligned expectations is stratified by SES. We further investigate if social capital within and outside the family carries the effect of family SES on the intergenerational alignment of educational expectations.

Following Kim and Schneider, our outcome variable is measured by the agreement between students’ own educational expectations and parents’ expectations for them. Using the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002 and Hierarchical Generalized Linear Modeling where 12th graders are nested within school, findings from this study indicate that students and their parents from higher SES are more likely to share the same level of educational expectation for students, when compared to those from lower SES. Results are robust to the inclusion of gender, race, students’ cognitive ability, and school characteristics (e.g., Catholic school, school SES) while social capital within family partially carries the effect of family SES on aligned expectations. We further address the source of intergenerational agreement patterns (i.e., upward, downward, and identical alignments) by SES and discuss implications of stratified expectations for relative risk aversion and higher education expansion across generations (Breen et al. 2014).