Do Mothers Matter? A Comparison of Models of the Influence of Mothers' and Fathers' Educational and Occupational Status on Children's Educational Attainment

Abstract

The first objective of this article is to clarify which model best captures the structure and trend of the influence of social origin on children's education. The second objective is to analyse how general conclusions on historical trends in educational reproduction change if we add mother's status background to the model. Six contrasting hypotheses are derived fromthe body of literature dealing with models on families' socioeconomic status. All hypotheses are translated into empirical models and their explained variance is compared. A pooled data set is used that contains data from the Netherlands, West Germany, and the USA. The Modified Dominance Model, that distinguishes the influence of the highest from thelowest status parent, has the best model fit. Regarding the second objective we see that adding the mother's influence to that of the father's does not change general conclusions on trends in educational reproduction. Over time the influence of both parents decreases continuously. However, the influence of the mother's education and occupational status on children's educational attainment is substantive.

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Korupp, S.E., Ganzeboom, H.B.G. & Van Der Lippe, T. Do Mothers Matter? A Comparison of Models of the Influence of Mothers' and Fathers' Educational and Occupational Status on Children's Educational Attainment. Quality & Quantity 36, 17–42 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1014393223522

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  • families
  • historical trends
  • social inequality
  • status attainment