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Intergenerational Educational Mobility – The Role of Non-cognitive Skills

Anna Adamecz-Völgyi, Morag Henderson () and Nikki Shure
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Morag Henderson: UCL Institute of Education

No 14580, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: While it has been shown that university attendance is strongly predicted by parental education, we know very little about why some potential 'first in family' or first-generation students make it to university and others do not. This paper looks at the role of non-cognitive skills in the university participation of this disadvantaged group in England. We find that conditional on national, high-stakes exam scores and various measures of socioeconomic background, having higher levels of non-cognitive skills, specifically locus of control, academic self-concept, work ethic, and self-esteem, in adolescence is positively related to intergenerational educational mobility to university. Our results indicate that having higher non-cognitive skills helps potential first in family university students to compensate for their relative disadvantage, and they are especially crucial for boys. The most important channel of this relationship seems to be through educational attainment at the end of compulsory schooling.

Keywords: socioeconomic gaps; intergenerational educational mobility; higher education; non-cognitive skills (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I24 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 37 pages
Date: 2021-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-eur, nep-isf, nep-ltv and nep-neu
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Published - published online in: Education Economcis, 13 February 2023

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Working Paper: Intergenerational educational mobility – the role of non-cognitive skills (2021) Downloads
Working Paper: Intergenerational educational mobility – the role of non-cognitive skills (2021) Downloads
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