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Peers’ Parents and Educational Attainment

This paper contributes to the discussion on childhood exposure by investigating the extent to which the educational background of peers’ parents is related to a child’s future college attainment. I analyze the friendship networks of a nationally representative sample of high-school students in the US and find that the spillover from peers’ parents of the same gender operates independently of peer effects. The effects are robust to addressing friendship selection. The same gender pattern suggests either the transmission of gender-specific information or the presence of a role model effect. Furthermore, the same gender spillover is significant only for students from lower-educated families. A student whose father is absent or less caring also experiences significant influence from peers’ fathers. The heterogeneity by own family background indicates the influences from parental and non-parental adults are substitutes.

Authors: 
Bobby Chung, Clemson University
Publication Date: 
November, 2018
Publication Status: 
Document Number: 
2018-086
File Description: 
First version, November 3, 2018