An analysis of detailed parental occupational differences and their effects on children’s school attainment in Britain

Gayle, V. and Lambert, P. (2011) An analysis of detailed parental occupational differences and their effects on children’s school attainment in Britain. In: International Sociological Association RC28, Spring Conference, 13 - 16 April 2011, University of Essex, UK. (Unpublished)

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It is often argued that detailed differences between occupational positions have important empirical effects upon socio-economic outcomes (e.g. Weeden and Grusky, 2005). In this paper we investigate the extent to which fine-grained measures of parental occupational positions, as are available in a major longitudinal UK social survey (Youth Cohort Study of England and Wales), add value to an analysis of children’s educational attainment.
The focus of the presentation is school attainment measured by General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examination. GCSEs are public examinations and mark the first major educational branching point, and poor GCSE attainment is a considerable obstacle which precludes young people from pursuing more advanced educational courses. Young people with low levels of GCSE attainment are frequently disadvantaged in the labour market, and are also likely to have a less favourable longer term experiences in the adult labour market.
We analyse some alternative measures of GCSE attainment and consider a number of alternative classifications of parental occupations, which feature substantial variation in their level of detail using a range of GLMM models. We conclude that there is a relatively strong, and persistent, association between parental occupations and filial GCSE attainment. This is greater than the effect of both gender and ethnicity. This relationship is observed irrespective of however GCSE attainment and parental occupations are measured, however, the relationship is empirically stronger when the data on parental occupations recognises specific and detailed differences between jobs. For example the difference between school teachers and publicans, which in many UK socio-economic schemes are assigned to the same classification). We reflect upon the empirical and theoretical consequences for exploiting occupational data in studying educational attainment and in stratification research more generally.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: 5. Quantitative Data Handling and Data Analysis > 5.5 Regression Methods
Depositing User: L-W-S user
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2012 15:34
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2021 13:55

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