Academic journal article Demographic Research

Intergenerational Transmission of Women's Educational Attainment in South Korea: An Application of a Multi-Group Population Projection Model

Academic journal article Demographic Research

Intergenerational Transmission of Women's Educational Attainment in South Korea: An Application of a Multi-Group Population Projection Model

Article excerpt

Abstract

Using a multi-group population projection model, this study examines the implications of educational mobility and differential demographic rates on changing women's educational distribution in South Korea. This article focuses on the implications of a differential population renewal process on educational mobility, which has not been extensively examined in previous studies of social mobility. My findings suggest, first, that differential demographic rates have no substantial influence on the educational distribution, because of substantial educational mobility. Second, that intergenerational association and structural change matter in the long run, with stronger intergenerational association and more structural change leading to increases in women's level of education. Finally, that educational mobility and differential fertility are interdependent processes that jointly influence differential population replacement, but the fertility gap between education groups would have to be unreasonably large to be influential, due to the extraordinarily high educational mobility in South Korea.

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1. Introduction: Demography and social mobility

This study examines intergenerational transmission of women's educational attainment in South Korea as a process jointly determined by educational mobility, differential fertility, and differential mortality. Most previous studies on social mobility have focused on intergenerational association in socioeconomic outcomes (e.g., education and occupation) based on existing parent-offspring dyads. Departing from this approach, this study examines the implications of differential demographic rates, intergenerational association, and structural change between generations for the transmission of socioeconomic status across generations as a whole.

First, the approach in most previous research has not fully examined how differential reproductive behaviors affect social mobility. Research in social mobility has applied a variety of statistical models, such as path analysis and structural equation models for status attainment process (Blau and Duncan 1967; Hauser, Tsai, and Sewell 1983), log-linear models for intergenerational occupational mobility (Erikson and Goldthorpe 1992; Hout 1984, 1988), and schooling progression-ratio models for educational attainment (Mare 1981; Shavit and Blossfeld 1993). All these models aim at estimating net intergenerational association in socioeconomic outcomes after controlling for potential confounders and change in marginal distributions. Although this approach demonstrates how offspring's socioeconomic outcomes depend on parental socioeconomic status, the implications of socioeconomic differentials in demographic behaviors for status transmission have not been widely studied. This is unfortunate, because intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic status is intrinsically "the process by which a socioeconomically differentiated population reproduces itself" (Mare 1997: 265).

Such recognition is not new - demographic models for social mobility were developed as early as the 1950s. Prais (1955) adopted a stable population theory to study social mobility, showing that occupational distributions approach a "stable-equivalent" state independent of the initial state when mobility rates remain constant over time. Although Prais recognized possible complications due to demographic processes, his model did not take into account differential fertility and mortality (Prais 1955: 80). Matras published a series of papers that incorporated differential demographic processes into social mobility. He applied Prais's model (1955) using empirical data (Matras 1960), incorporated differential fertility by occupation (Matras 1961), and examined the effect of fertility timing on population distribution in later periods (Matras 1967). These studies applied a multi-group population projection that assumes constant mobility and differential reproduction rates over a long period of time. …

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