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Parental Human Capital and Education

Parental human capital—usually defined by social scientists in terms of educational attainment, income, occupational prestige, and/or wealth—is inextricably linked to children's educational outcomes. There is no debate as to whether greater levels of parental human capital are linked to more favorable outcomes for children; rather, researchers examine the magnitude of the effects and the mechanisms through which parents transmit advantages or disadvantages to their children.

Empirical studies in modern sociology are usually traced back to the status attainment literature pioneered by Peter Blau and Otis Dudley Duncan in their classic book, The American Occupational Structure. Soon thereafter, the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study was developed to examine the lasting effects of parental human capital for children. Although these early studies set the benchmark for understanding the link between ...

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