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  • Individual Author: Duncan, Greg J.; Bergman, Lars; Duckworth, Kathryn; Kokko, Katja; Lyyra, Anna-Liisa; Metzger, Molly; Pulkkinen, Lea; Simonton, Sharon
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2012

    Under what conditions can parents succeed in passing their socioeconomic advantages on to their children by boosting their children’s job-related skills and behaviors? In equal opportunity societies, institutions and other policies boost the skills and behaviors of low-socioeconomic status (SES) children in ways that fully offset the skill and behavioral advantages imparted by parent efforts. Unequal opportunity societies—those allowing school and neighborhood quality to reinforce family advantage and disadvantage— should see growing skill and behavior gaps between high- and low-SES children across childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood—and substantial intergenerational inequality.

    This chapter focuses on the indirect skill- and behavior-based process of intergenerational inequality using five data sets from four countries: the United Kingdom, the United States, Sweden, and Finland. All of our data sets provide representative samples of children drawn from national or large community populations; measure the completed schooling of parents and children; and, most...

    Under what conditions can parents succeed in passing their socioeconomic advantages on to their children by boosting their children’s job-related skills and behaviors? In equal opportunity societies, institutions and other policies boost the skills and behaviors of low-socioeconomic status (SES) children in ways that fully offset the skill and behavioral advantages imparted by parent efforts. Unequal opportunity societies—those allowing school and neighborhood quality to reinforce family advantage and disadvantage— should see growing skill and behavior gaps between high- and low-SES children across childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood—and substantial intergenerational inequality.

    This chapter focuses on the indirect skill- and behavior-based process of intergenerational inequality using five data sets from four countries: the United Kingdom, the United States, Sweden, and Finland. All of our data sets provide representative samples of children drawn from national or large community populations; measure the completed schooling of parents and children; and, most important, measure an assortment of important skills and behaviors in both middle childhood (ages seven and ten) and adolescence (age thirteen through sixteen).

    Our key objective is to estimate cross-country differences in the extent to which child skills and behaviors account for intergenerational correlations in the completed schooling of parents and their grown children. The mediational role of children’s skills and behaviors is, in turn, a product of two factors: how strongly parent SES determines children’s skills and behaviors and the importance of children’s skills and behaviors for their adult attainments. Both factors need to be at work if skills and behaviors are to play an important mediational role. (author introduction)