Intergenerational Educational Mobility – the Role of Non-Cognitive Skills

37 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2021

See all articles by Anna Adamecz-Völgyi

Anna Adamecz-Völgyi

University College London - UCL Social Research Institute

Morag Henderson

University College London - UCL Institute of Education

Dominique Shure

University College London

Abstract

While it has been shown that university attendance is strongly predicted by parental education, we know very little about why some potential 'first in family' or first-generation students make it to university and others do not. This paper looks at the role of non-cognitive skills in the university participation of this disadvantaged group in England. We find that conditional on national, high-stakes exam scores and various measures of socioeconomic background, having higher levels of non-cognitive skills, specifically locus of control, academic self-concept, work ethic, and self-esteem, in adolescence is positively related to intergenerational educational mobility to university. Our results indicate that having higher non-cognitive skills helps potential first in family university students to compensate for their relative disadvantage, and they are especially crucial for boys. The most important channel of this relationship seems to be through educational attainment at the end of compulsory schooling.

JEL Classification: I24, J24

Suggested Citation

Adamecz-Volgyi, Anna and Henderson, Morag and Shure, Dominique, Intergenerational Educational Mobility – the Role of Non-Cognitive Skills. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14580, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3896792 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3896792

Anna Adamecz-Volgyi (Contact Author)

University College London - UCL Social Research Institute ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Morag Henderson

University College London - UCL Institute of Education

20 Bedford Way
London, WC1H 0AL
United Kingdom

Dominique Shure

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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