Intergenerational Transmission of Education. A Meta-Analysis of Sibling Correlations Published Between 1972–2018

Patrick Praeg , University of Oxford
Evelina Akimova, University of Oxford
Christiaan W. S. Monden, University of Oxford

Intergenerational social mobility has long been studied by examining sibling similarities in educational attainment. We identified 61 studies with 157 published and unpublished estimates of sibling correlations in education of ca. 5,500,000 siblings from 16 countries and conducted a meta-analysis of these estimates. Across all studies, the average sibling correlation in education is 0.49 (95% CI: 0.46--0.51). More interestingly, we show that the sibling correlation in the US is among the highest studied; only in India and Spain sibling correlations are higher. Further, we show that sibling correlations are higher in economically less equal countries, lending support to the 'Great Gatsby curve.' We also find that brother correlations, sister correlations and correlations that do not distinguish by sex are on average of similar size.

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 Presented in Session 4. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions