Inequality and Teenagers’ Educational Aspirations in Urban Mexico
affiliation not provided to SSRN
Luis Felipe Lopez-Calva
El Colegio de Mexico - Centro de Estudios Economicos
El Colegio de Mexico
June 30, 2010
Documento de Trabajo, No. 7-2010
The paper assesses the ways in which socioeconomic and other family characteristics affect youth’s aspirations for education in urban Mexico. The theoretical approach is based on recent developments in the economic literature that assess the impact of economic mobility on individuals’ aspirations and on the impact of aspirations on individuals’ behavior. In this literature, aspirations are considered as assets people have. The literature stresses two key aspects of aspirations: a) Do they matter for people’s actions? b)How are they formed?). We have tackled in this paper the second aspect. Although we leave the first issue for further research, there exists ample evidence that aspirations are important drivers for individuals’ decisions. We developed a theoretical model based on Kuklys (2004) to derive reduced demand equations for children’s aspirations on expected schooling levels. Results showed an unequal distribution of schooling aspirations in urban Mexico. Moreover, teenagers’ aspirations depend on circumstances, like SES, that are unevenly distributed in society and for which they have null or little control. Some of them are relatively easy to observe: parents’ schooling level, sex and labor market participation, households’ demographic characteristics, and households’ access to services and ownership of durables goods. Others are more difficult to observe and specific surveys are needed in order to have some proxy indicators of them. Nonetheless, it was found here that they also have a significant impact on children’s schooling aspirations: parents’ agency, parents’ own aspirations for their kids, and some characteristics of parents’ connections with the outside world (proxied here by schooling levels of relatives, friends and colleagues).
Number of Pages in PDF File: 22
Keywords: Inequality, Aspirations, Capabilities, Mexico
JEL Classification: D63, I2, I3working papers series
Date posted: April 9, 2011
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