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The Effects of Grandparents on Children’s Schooling: Evidence from Rural China

Publication Abstract

Zeng, Zhen, and Yu Xie. 2014. "The Effects of Grandparents on Children’s Schooling: Evidence from Rural China." Demography, 51(2): 599-617.

Whether or not the social class of grandparents affects grandchildren's socioeconomic outcomes net of the characteristics of the middle generation is much debated in the social mobility literature. Using data from the 2002 Chinese Household Income Project, we investigate the direct effects of grandparents on grandchildren's educational attainment in rural China. We find that the influence of grandparents is contingent on living arrangements. While the educational level of coresident grandparents directly affects the educational attainment of their grandchildren, with an effect size similar to that of parental education, the education of non-coresident and deceased grandparents does not have any effect. These findings suggest that grandparents can directly affect grandchildren's educational outcomes through socio-psychological pathways. Our study not only adds an important case study to the literature, but also sheds new light on theoretical interpretations of grandparent effects when they are found.

DOI:10.1007/s13524-013-0275-4 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC4026185. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: China.

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