Educational Attainment and College Aspirations: The Role of Parental Preferences
Two articles are presented in the topic of educational attainment and the role of noncognitive traits and parental preferences.
The main topic of the first part is the relationship between locus of control and educational attainment and college aspirations in adolescence, focusing on the potential channels through which locus of control may operate. Locus of control correlates strongly with college aspirations and college attendance even if we control for a large set of socio-demographic factors and cognitive skills. We show that effort is an essential channel through which locus of control operates. A mediation analysis indicates that this channel is more important than future expectations when considering high school graduation, college aspirations and college attendance.
In the second study, we examine how parental preferences affect child educational outcomes. After controlling for child cognitive abilities, there is still a significant difference between parents’ preferences for child educational outcomes. This suggests that parents prefer child outcomes to be similar to theirs. In turn, parental preferences exert a large and significant effect on the child’s educational outcomes, even if all relevant factors are accounted for, including parental education, household characteristics, cognitive abilities, study effort and the child’s expectations about their future. We use post double selection least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (PDS lasso) for measurement, to facilitate the selection of the most important control variables in the analysis, as we use high-dimensional data.