Author(s)  
Fabian Pfeffer

Prior research on trends in educational inequality has focused chiefly on changing gaps in educational attainment by family income or parental occupation. In contrast, this contribution provides the first assessment of trends in educational attainment by family wealth and suggests that we should be at least as concerned about growing wealth gaps in education. Despite overall growth in educational attainment and some signs of decreasing wealth gaps in high school attainment and college access, I find a large and rapidly increasing wealth gap in college attainment between cohorts born in the 1970s and 1980s, respectively. This growing wealth gap in higher educational attainment co-occurred with a rise in inequality in children's wealth backgrounds, although the analyses also suggest that the latter does not fully account for the former. Nevertheless, the results reported here raise concerns about the distribution of educational opportunity among today's children who grow up in a context of particularly extreme wealth inequality.

Publication Type  
Article
Journal  
Demography
Volume  
55
Pages  
1033-1068
JEL Codes  
I21: Analysis of Education
I24: Education and Inequality
J62: Job, Occupational, and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
Keywords  
wealth
education
cohorts
PSID