Home | Events Archive | First generation elite: the role of school social networks

First generation elite: the role of school social networks

  • Series
  • Speaker(s)
    Sarah Cattan (Institute for Fiscal Studies, United Kingdom)
  • Field
    Empirical Microeconomics
  • Location
  • Date and time

    October 11, 2021
    12:00 - 13:00

This paper examines whether increasing the exposure of low socio-economic status (SES) students to classmates from elite educated families during high school can strengthen their chances of becoming first generation elites. Using administrative data from Norway and exploiting within-school, cross-cohort variation in the composition of high school peers' parental characteristics, we estimate the causal effect of elite social networks - measured by the proportion of parents with elite education in the youth's school cohort -- on the probability to enroll in an elite degree. We find that exposure to elite networks promotes elite educational attainment, but this effect is four times higher for high SES students than it is for low SES students. We show that this gradient in the effect of exposure to elite networks is partly due to teachers' assessments in schools with stronger elite networks being more strongly biased against low SES students. Moreover, the aspirations evoked by elite educated parents may also be too far from low SES children's current experiences to give them an incentive to close the elite education gap with their high SES counterparts.

(with Kjell Salvanes and Emma Tominey)

Practical information:

• If you want to attend this online seminar, you need to register here. You will then receive the details of the zoom session by email.

• Your microphone will be on mute upon joining the meeting, please leave it like that and unmute it only if you want to ask a question.

• Asking questions: please just go ahead and ask questions in the “usual way” (ie, don’t use the chat unless you want to notify the host of any problem related to seminar).

• Please use the registration form also to register for a Zoom bilateral on the day of the seminar. Deadline for requesting a bilateral is Thursday 7 Oct at 09:00.