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ERIC Number: EJ917875
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 114
ISSN: ISSN-0022-1546
Why Do More Women than Men Want to Earn a Four-Year Degree? Exploring the Effects of Gender, Social Origin, and Social Capital on Educational Expectations
Wells, Ryan S.; Seifert, Tricia A.; Padgett, Ryan D.; Park, Sueuk; Umbach, Paul D.
Journal of Higher Education, v82 n1 p1-32 Jan-Feb 2011
Students' educational expectations are one of the strongest predictors of their future educational attainment (Mortimer, 1996; Reynolds & Burge, 2008; Sewell & Hauser, 1980; Sewell & Shah, 1968). Thus, the growing gender gap in educational expectations partially explains the growth in the gender gap in educational attainment (Reynolds & Burge, 2008). This leads to a challenging question: how do administrators and policymakers address the contemporary gender disparity in educational expectations, thereby likely increasing male postsecondary educational matriculation and degree attainment, without penalizing and rolling back the vital gains women have made in postsecondary educational attainment in the last thirty years? Using social reproduction theory as a framework, this paper examines the role of social origin characteristics (largely measures of family socioeconomic background) and social capital characteristics (the influence of parents and peers) on the educational expectations of high school students. The authors provide a direct test of the assumption that familial and/or peer influences are partially responsible for the postsecondary educational expectation gender gap, and also test this assumption by race/ethnicity. They find that the effects of social capital differ by gender but that the gender gap in expectations does not differ by race. (Contains 5 tables, 1 figure and 9 notes.)
Ohio State University Press. 180 Pressey Hall, 1070 Carmack Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1002. Tel: 614-292-1407; Fax: 614-292-2065; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A