Trends in the Relationship between Socioeconomic Status and Academic Achievement
41 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2006
Date Written: February 21, 2006
Family background has repeatedly proven to be a strong predictor of academic achievement. Using data from three large-scale nationally representative surveys of high school seniors, this paper seeks to document whether the gap between students from high and low socioeconomic situations changed between 1972 and 1992. The analysis avoids some of the disadvantages in the literature on the intergenerational transmission of income by using large-scale studies and by using education as a measure of permanent income. As expected, I find that students from the bottom quartile consistently perform below students from the top quartile of socioeconomic status. More importantly, the gap in standardized test scores between student types increased during the 1970's. Though this gap also increased in the 1980's, how much of that increase is due to increased income inequality is unclear.
Keywords: human capital, educational economics
JEL Classification: J62, I2
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation