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Universal Family Background Effects on Education Across and Within Societies

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posted on 16.04.2019, 14:27 by Michael Grätz, Kieron BarclayKieron Barclay, Øyvind N. Wiborg, Torkild H. Lyngstad, Aleksi Karhula, Jani Erola, Patrick Präg, Thomas Laidley, Dalton Conley
Abstract: The extent to which siblings resemble each other measures the total impact of family background in shaping life outcomes. We study sibling similarity in cognitive skills, school grades, and educational attainment in Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. We also compare sibling similarity by parental education and occupation within these societies. The comparison of sibling correlations across and within societies allows us to characterize the omnibus impact of family background on education across social landscapes. We find similar levels of sibling similarity across social groups. Across countries, we find only small differences. In addition, rankings of countries in sibling resemblance differ across the three educational outcomes we study. We conclude that sibling similarity is largely similar across advanced, industrialized countries and across social groups within societies contrary to theories that suggest large cross-national differences and variation of educational mobility across social groups within societies.


Forskningsrådet om Hälsa, Arbetsliv och Välfärd (FORTE), grant agreements 2012-1741 and 2016-07099

Swedish Research Council grant 340-2013-5164, SIMSAM Node for Demographic Research

ERC grant 336475 (COSTPOST)

Research Council of Norway’s FINNUT, project no. 237831

European Research Council (ERC-2013-CoG-617965)

Strategic Research Council at the Suomen Akatemia (Academy of Finland), TITA (293103)

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Developmentgrant, P01-HD31921

National Institutes of Health, grant number R01 HD069609

National Science Foundation, award number 1157698

Research Network on Connected Learning, grant number 13-105643-000




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