Park, Kiwoong (2020). Adolescents’ relative position in school and educational attainment: The mediating role of educational expectations. Social Science Research.
, PMCID: PMC7926033
This study examines whether and how adolescents' relative deprivation in school is associated with their years of education by incorporating the social comparison perspective into the Wisconsin status attainment model. Using Waves 1, 2, and 4 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), this study finds that adolescents who are positioned at the bottom of the economic hierarchy in school are likely to have up to one less year of education, compared to their counterparts positioned at the top of the hierarchy, when holding other variables constant. Also, by using causal mediation analyses, I find that educational expectations account for more than 20% of the relationship between adolescents' relative deprivation and educational attainment. The sensitivity analyses are conducted to examine how robust the main findings are to the violation of the assumption used in this study. These results provide evidence showing that adolescents’ educational outcomes do not only depend on their material resources but also on their relative standing in the economic hierarchy.
Social Science Research