Search Results

Author: Beller, Emily Ann
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Beller, Emily Ann
Families and Mobility: A Re-Conceptualization of the Social Class of Children
Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California - Berkeley, 2006
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT)
Keyword(s): Educational Attainment; Family Structure; Gender Differences; Human Capital; National Education Longitudinal Survey (NELS); Pairs (also see Siblings); Parents, Single; Schooling; Stepfamilies; Stratification

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

Parent's occupational and educational achievements have long affected Americans' own achievements. How that happens depends in part on parent-child involvement and has become more complicated over the past thirty to forty years due to the increasing prevalence of diverse family forms. The heyday of family stability---roughly 1945-1975---coincided with the development of family-based social mobility and stratification research. Researchers took advantage of stability to simplify their measures of family background, frequently wholly summarizing children's social class in a single ranking or category based on the father's occupation. Today's complexity of family forms and the growing importance of mothers' occupations to family social class position render this simplification obsolete---over fifty percent of Americans born as early as 1940 say that their mother, too, worked outside the home. This dissertation documents the distortions that occur when researchers ignore these complexities and begins the process of modernizing family stratification research. I do so by bringing in the resources of both mothers and fathers---custodial and non custodial---in defining childhood social class.

My dissertation research findings confirm that stratification research stands on a shaky foundation in ignoring family complexity. I show that models of intergenerational mobility which include family-level measures of class or educational background do a much better job of representing the mobility patterns in the data than conventional models do. Moreover, the choice of family background measure affects research conclusions. For example, I show that the apparent leveling of a long term trend toward greater equality in social class outcomes among recent male birth cohorts is actually due to the increasing but unmeasured effect of mothers' class resources on sons' outcomes. Rather than leveling off, inequality has increased noticeably compared to older cohorts. I also show that the lower predicted educational attainment of children raised in single parent families results from a comparatively weak relationship between absent parents' educational resources and children's educational success. This weak relationship exists only when parent-child involvement is low---when children spend sufficient time with absent parents, their achievement levels are close to those of young people who live full time with both parents.

Bibliography Citation
Beller, Emily Ann. Families and Mobility: A Re-Conceptualization of the Social Class of Children. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California - Berkeley, 2006.