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ERIC Number: ED628903
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2023-May-19
Pages: 61
Abstractor: As Provided
Are Connections the Way to Get Ahead? Social Capital, Student Achievement, Friendships, and Social Mobility. Program on Education Policy and Governance Working Papers Series. PEPG 23-01
Peterson, Paul E.; Dills, Angela K.; Shakeel, M. Danish
Program on Education Policy and Governance
Chetty et al. (2022) say county density of cross-class friendships (referred to here as "adult-bridging capital") has causal impacts on social mobility within the United States. We instead find that social mobility rates are a function of county density of family capital (higher marriage rates and two-person households), community capital (community organizations, religious congregations, and volunteering), and mean student achievement in grades 3-8. Our models use similar multiple regression equations and the same variables employed by Chetty et al. but also include state fixed effects, student achievement, and family, community, schoolbridging (cross-class high school friendships), and political (participation and institutional trust) capital. School-bridging capital is weakly correlated with mobility if adult-bridging is excluded from the model. R-squared barely changes when adult-bridging is incorporated into the model. When it is included, mobility continues to be significantly correlated with the achievement, family, and community variables but not with school-bridging and political ones. We infer that county mobility rates are largely shaped by parental presence, community life, and student achievement. To enhance mobility, public policy needs to enhance the lives of disadvantaged people at home, in school, and in communities, not just the social class of their friendships.
Program on Education Policy and Governance. Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, 79 John F. Kennedy Street, Taubman 304, Cambridge, MA 02138. Tel: 617-495-7976; Fax: 617-496-4428; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Walton Family Foundation
Authoring Institution: Harvard University, Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A