Does parent-child educational similarity vary by parental favoritism?


Rauscher, Emily (2014). Does parent-child educational similarity vary by parental favoritism?. 2014 Add Health Users Conference. Bethesda, MD.


Stratification research typically assumes that children from the same family share equal opportunity, yet within family variation accounts for about 75% of economic inequality (Conley 2004). To deepen our understanding of inequality and how it is transmitted between generations, I investigate the relationship between parental favoritism and parent-child educational similarity. Favoritism may increase parent-child similarity across all socioeconomic backgrounds, increasing between-family inequality. Alternatively, it may only provide more resources and increase parent-child similarity among high SES families. Using family fixed effects and controlling for earlier academic performance, I compare same-sex twins in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to investigate whether parent-child educational similarity varies by parental favoritism. Twin comparisons address much of the potential concern about endogeneity. Twins share similar environments and, for identical twins, the same genes. Results of twin pair fixed effects models suggest that twins who believe they are favored enjoy a higher educational return to mother's education than those who do not report favoritism (p<0.1). However, this relationship only holds for children of highly educated mothers (at least 16 years, p<0.05). Thus, preliminary evidence suggests family dynamics moderate the intergenerational educational transmission process, but only at high SES levels.


Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

2014 Add Health Users Conference


Rauscher, Emily

Year Published


City of Publication

Bethesda, MD

Reference ID