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Journal Article

PARENTAL SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS AND SIBLING EDUCATIONAL INEQUALITY IN THE UNITED STATES

GREGORY M. EIRICH
International Journal of Sociology of the Family
Vol. 37, No. 2 (Autumn 2011), pp. 183-202
Published by: International Journals
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23028809
Page Count: 20
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
PARENTAL SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS AND SIBLING EDUCATIONAL INEQUALITY IN THE UNITED STATES
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Abstract

A small but important literature has theorized that parental socioeconomic status (SES) affects sibling educational inequality. First, this paper confirms previous suggestive evidence that as parental SES increases in the United States, sibling educational inequality decreases. A child from high SES parents is more likely to have a sibling with a similar (relative) schooling level than a low SES child, who will be further away educationally from his or her sibling. Second, this paper casts doubt on the literature's hypothesized causal mechanisms for this result. Using a simple simulation approach, this paper illustrates that the strong negative association between parental SES and sibling educational inequality does not appear to be due to any active parental investment decisions to steer (or balance) their children's schooling trajectories, as the literature has previously hypothesized; instead, it is likely due to structural forces outside of parental control. This paper suggests some possible structural forces behind the patterns uncovered.

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