Date of Graduation

Spring 2018

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Major

Economics

Research Sponsor

Dr. Francesco Renna

First Reader

Dr. Francesco Renna

Second Reader

Dr. Steven Myers

Abstract

As a people, an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that hard work alone can push even the most disadvantaged of us beyond our upbringing. The link between parental and child labor outcomes in the form of educational attainment, income, or social class is known as intergenerational correlation. Due to vast differences in black and white American educational attainment, this paper conducted a study to measure just exactly how parental education will impact a child’s future. As literature and theory suggest, parental education, family income, race, gender, and several other factors all have a tangible benefit on determining how much schooling a person seeks out. This study focuses on the impact that, specifically, parental levels of educational attainment have on child’s future education. Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics at the University of Michigan data was collected on these variables listed above. Ordinary Least Square regression and a TOBIT model were run to conclude how intergenerational transmission of education differs by race. This study concludes that overall, black American heads of household are not as influenced by parental levels of education as white American heads of household. In one example, white female heads of household can expect to gain almost twice the benefit from a parent finishing high school rather than not completing high school when compared to black females. This paper suggests that in order to close the gap between black and white educational attainments differences, increasing the emphasis placed on achieving more education may not be an effective solution for diminishing the gap.

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