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Title: Family size and educational consequences in the UK
Author: Henderson, Morag Elizabeth
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis investigates in what ways the family matters for educational outcomes. Six research questions are answered. First, is family size associated with familial resources? Second, is having a large family associated with lower levels of objective and subjective educational outcomes and has this changed over the 20th century? Third, is there evidence of an association between family size and emotional health and life perspectives of young people? Fourth, is there any evidence of an association between family size and the degree of confidence and sociability? Fifth, do parenting strategies vary by family size? Sixth, is there evidence if a causal relationship between family size and educational outcomes? The British Household Panel Survey, the Longitudinal Survey of Young People in England and the ONS Longitudinal Study are used to answer these questions. The key findings from the observational studies are as follows. First, as family size increases there is a reduction in familial resources. Second, as a result of resource dilution there is a reduction in the highest qualification attained; this finding is robust to alternative measures of educational outcomes. Third, there is a positive relationship between family size and reporting poor emotional health and external locus of control. Fourth, there is some evidence that the manner in which the young person socialises varies by family size. Fifth, parenting strategies vary by family size; these strategies are positively associated with GCSE achievement and ameliorate the negative family size association. Sixth, testing the resource dilution model using twins as an exogenous increase in family size found that there is weak evidence of a causal relationship between family size and educational outcomes. This thesis addresses the influence of the family on inequalities in education. The findings have important implications for future research on this topic.
Supervisor: Chan, Tak Wing Sponsor: University of Oxford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sociology ; Families ; Households ; Social mobility ; Statistics (social sciences) ; Children and youth ; Intergenerational relationships