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Title: Social aspects of educational inequality
Author: Raabe, Isabel Jasmin
ISNI:       0000 0004 7232 8347
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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Social factors have long been included in theories that aim at explaining educational inequality, for example social integration or social influence from significant others. Using social network data from the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Survey in Four European Countries (CILS4EU), I am investigating to what extent social aspects can contribute to our understanding of ethnic and gendered patterns in educational inequality. The first two empirical chapters focus on explaining ethnic patterns in school grades and in the aspirations to attend university. In these, I find a positive relationship between low school grades and extent of social exclusion, measured through the absence of friendships and the existence of social rejection from classmates. This helps explaining ethnic grade disadvantages of recently arrived migrants, since they are more likely to be socially excluded. Further, I use friendship network data to detect social clusters within school classes, and find that changes in cluster members' aspirations are relatively more important for changes in individual aspirations than the corresponding changes of classmates outside of the social cluster. These chapters use an ego-centric network approach, i.e. they utilise social network data to capture characteristics of the social dimension around individuals and analyse them in regression models on the individual level. The latter two empirical chapters investigate how social influence can stabilise gendered patterns of favourite subjects and competence beliefs. Examining why girls get discouraged from subjects in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM), I find evidence for influence from friends on favourite subjects, as well as for the tendency of girls to be affected by the preferences of other girls in the classroom specifically when it comes to preferences for STEM subjects. Moreover, I show that there is a social influence from friends on maths competence beliefs, especially for boys, while girls tend to be more influenced by maths grades. These two chapters take a socio-centric approach, i.e. they deploy complete network analysis to detect patterns of social influence, while accounting for network structures and processes. This thesis shows that social aspects can contribute valuable insights into the study of educational choice and attainment. In identifying concrete social mechanisms surrounding and affecting individuals, this approach can thus help us understand how differences in educational outcomes come about.
Supervisor: Jonsson, Jan O. Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available