Publication Date

2016

Abstract

The paper examines changes in the influence of family background, including socioeconomic and social background variables on educational attainment in Australia for cohorts born between 1890 and 1982. We test hypotheses from modernization theory on sibling data using random effects models and find: (i) substantial declines in the influence of family background on educational attainment (indicated by the sibling intraclass correlations); (ii) declines in the effects of both economic and cultural socioeconomic background variables; (iii) changes in the effects of some social background variables (e.g., family size); (iv) and declines in the extent that socioeconomic and social background factors account for variation in educational attainment. Unmeasured family background factors are more important, and proportionally increasingly so, for educational attainment than the measured socioeconomic and social background factors analyzed. Fixed effects models showed steeper declines in the effects of socioeconomic background variables than in standard analyses suggesting that unmeasured family factors associated with socioeconomic background obscure the full extent of the decline.

Document Type

Journal Article

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