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Title: An empirical analysis of the intergenerational effects of education and policy interventions targeted at socio-economically disadvantaged students
Author: O'Sullivan, Vincent A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2725 3788
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2011
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The over-arching theme of this thesis is the effects of parental background on children and the effectiveness of policies designed to improve the academic outcomes of socioeconomically disadvantaged students. The first chapter of this thesis explores the causal link between the education of one generation and that of their children by using IV to account for the endogeneity of parental education and paternal earnings. The second chapter evaluates the effectiveness of an intervention designed to improve the academic success at university of students from socio-economically disadvantaged families. The third and final chapter examines the potential issues in expanding a programme targeted at financially poorer students beyond its initial pilot phase. Chapter One addresses the intergenerational transmission of education and investigates the extent to which early school leaving (at age 16) may be due to variations in parental background. An important contribution of the chapter is to distinguish between the causal effects of parental income and parental education levels. Least squares estimation reveals conventional results – weak effects of income (when the child is 16), stronger effects of maternal education than paternal, and stronger effects on sons than daughters. We find that the education effects remain significant even when household income is included. However, when we use instrumental variable methods to simultaneously account for the endogeneity of parental education and paternal income, only maternal education remains significant (for daughters only) and becomes stronger. These estimates are consistent to various set of instruments. The impact of paternal income varies between specifications but becomes insignificant in our preferred specification. Our results provide limited evidence that policies alleviating income constraints at age 16 can alter schooling decisions but that policies increasing permanent income would lead to increased participation (especially for daughters). Chapter Two is an evaluation of a comprehensive university access programme that provides financial, academic and social support to low socioeconomic students using a natural experiment which exploits the time variation in the expansion of the programme across high schools. Overall, we identity positive treatment effects on retention rates, exam performance and graduation rates, with the impact often stronger for higher ability students. Gender differences are also identified. We find similar results for access students entering through the standard admissions system and those entering with lower grades. This suggests that access programmes can be effective at improving academic outcomes for socioeconomically disadvantaged students. In Chapter Three, we compare the effects of the pilot implementation and the subsequent national roll-out of a large programme, the Educational Maintenance Allowance, in the UK which provides financial transfers to youth who remain in post-compulsory education. While piloting policies is becoming standard in policy evaluation, little is known of their external validity. Using a difference-in-difference-in-differences methodology and several cohorts of the Youth Cohort Study for England and Wales, we estimate the effect of the Education Maintenance Allowance on post-compulsory school participation both in the piloting stage and in its national implementation. We find that the pilot scheme and the national extension had an effect on post-16 schooling but that the evidence in support of the national extension is weaker.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Sixth Framework Programme (European Commission) (FP6)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HQ The family. Marriage. Woman ; LC Special aspects of education