Mangino, W. (2012). Why do whites and the rich have less need for education?. American Journal of Economics and Sociology.
vol. 71 (3) pp. 562-602
This article hypothesizes that privileged social classes rely less on education to reproduce the next generation's social status. Privileged individuals disproportionately turn away from academics because they have many “informal” opportunities. The “aspiring classes,” conversely, are more reliant on education because they lack the advantages that come from nonacademic sources, like social networks, family relations, and other institutionalized mechanisms. Applying logistic regression to the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and its high school transcript data, this hypothesis is implied in two ways. First, when social backgrounds are controlled, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians are more likely to complete high school and go to college relative to white people. A second analysis shows that the relationship between family income and education is curvilinear. As income increases from poverty through the middle classes, the pursuit of education increases as socioeconomic barriers are removed. But among families with the highest annual incomes, there are marked decreases in rates of high school completion and transition to college. The article concludes that “equality of opportunity” is not achievable because numerous informal opportunities exist for traditionally advantaged segments of the US population.
American Journal of Economics and Sociology