Individual Attributes and College-Going Behavior

  • Kazuhiro Arai


The analyses in Chap. 5 were based on time-series data. It is difficult in such analyses to demonstrate the attributes of individuals who go to college and to contrast them with the attributes of those who do not. Hence, in this chapter we would like to consider this problem using cross-sectional data.


Labor Force Participation Educational Background Enrollment Rate Junior College Internal Labor Market 
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  1. 1.
    The first three sections of this chapter are based mainly on Arai (1989).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The effect of a mother’s labor force participation on children’s school achievement and school continuation decisions depends subtly on the age of the child. According to Stafford’s (1987) empirical study on the United States, if a mother works before her child goes to primary school, the child will achieve to a low standard in the early years of primary education, other things being equal. Datcher-Loury (1989) shows a similar result. (In the empirical study by Murnane, Maynard, and Ohls (1981) on primary school students from the third to sixth grades and that by Hanushek (1992), mothers’ participation does not have a significant effect on their children’s vocabulary or reading ability.) A mother’s participation, however, does not necessarily have a negative effect on her children’s school achievement as a whole or in the long run, because a working mother is likely to have fewer children and spend more funds on their education. It can be inferred that the negative effect becomes quite small after her children finish primary education. Other studies that have analyzed the relationships between a mother’s participation and children’s school achievement and/or school continuation include Leibowitz (1977) and Willis and Rosen (1979).Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    In some results of the cross-sectional analysis by Corazzini, Dugan, and Grabowski (1972) based on state data for the United States, the rate of unemployment shows a positive and significant effect on the total rate of male and female enrollment in higher education. According to Tomes (1981), highly educated parents tend to invest in the school education of their children rather than leave property.Google Scholar
  4. 11.
    Similar results have been obtained concerning the effects of parents’ educational background in the study by Behrman and Taubman (1986), where the average birth year of the sample is 1953, though the mother’s effect appears more significantly on daughters than on sons. The father’s effect is also stronger in the empirical study by Vella (1994) on Australian women who made education investment decisions in about the 1970s. Incidentally, Becker (1991) claims that the educational background of grandparents have negative effects on the education investment of their grandchildren, but significant effects could not be observed in the empirical study by Behrman and Taubman (1985).Google Scholar
  5. 12.
    Rosenzweig and Wolpin (1994) point to the benefits of postponed childbearing by teenagers. Their study suggests that postponement of childbearing by two years among women who are tenth-graders would result in a 5% increase in their children’s achievement test scores. Parsons (1978) is critical of too much emphasis on mothers’ time spent with children. He suggests that the effect of what is actually done during that time and the effects of contacts with people other than parents are also important. The effect of neighbors on demand for education is also discussed by Bishop (1977) and Borjas (1995). See also Hill and Stafford (1978).Google Scholar
  6. 13.
    The income elasticity of demand for a good means the percentage increase in the demand for the good due to a 1% income increase. On the other hand, the price elasticity of demand means the percentage increase in the demand due to a 1% price decrease. The demand is said to be inelastic if the elasticity is less than 1, and elastic if it is larger than 1. Both income-and price-elasticity of the demand for education of highly educated families are likely to be small because they try hard to invest as much as possible in their children’s education. In contrast, the elasticity is likely to be large for poorly educated families. A related analysis has been undertaken by McPherson and Schapiro (1991) which suggests that a decline in the net cost of college education (tuition minus financial aid) has a comparatively stronger effect on the demand for higher education of low income families.Google Scholar
  7. 14.
    For relationships between discontinuity of women’s careers and their low wages, see also Polachek (1975), Farber (1977), Corcoran and Duncan (1979), Mincer and Ofek (1982), Cox (1984), and Goldin and Polachek (1987).Google Scholar
  8. 15.
    A similar phenomenon can also be found in the allocation of staff in American universities. McDowell (1982) points out that there are few female researchers in such fields as physical sciences where acquired knowledge is useful only in a short period of time (the speed of knowledge obsolescence is high), because the opportunity costs of child care is high in such fields. In American universities those who are research oriented tend to be sharply distinguished from those who are instruction oriented. More female staff can be found in instruction jobs where the speed of knowledge obsolescence is relatively low. See also Johnson and Stafford (1974).Google Scholar
  9. 16.
    Sandell and Shapiro (1980) show in their empirical study that a woman’s expectations of future labor force participation positively’affect the amount of her on-the-job training. When a couple maximize their family income, they are likely to decide where to live in accordance with the husband’s job, and thus the wife’s career maybe interrupted and she may not be able to choose her best available job (Frank, 1978 ).Google Scholar
  10. 17.
    See Polachek (1976). However, there is a criticism by England (1982). According to Ferber and Birnbaum (1981), clerical jobs in American colleges are mostly filled by women, because the depreciation of human capital due to career discontinuity is small in those jobs.Google Scholar
  11. 18.
    An internal labor market means a type of organization typically observed in a relatively large corporation. In such an organization, the allocation of human resources is determined not by the price mechanism but by a set of administrative rules and procedures. For example, when a job in an internal labor market becomes vacant, it is usually filled not by hiring in the labor market but by promoting a worker who has worked in the job below it. Wages in such an organization are not necessarily determined to equal market wages: in Japan they are likely to be determined on the basis of seniority or length of service. (See Arai (1997a) for a theoretical explanation of this fact) Internal labor markets have high job security (such as lifetime employment in Japan). The existence of firm-specific human capital has traditionally been pointed out as an important factor generating internal labor markets. In order to promote accumulation of firm-specific human capital, which is less valuable in other firms, the firm has to offer high job security which generates internal promotions. The author considers, however, that encouragement of cooperation among workers is a more important factor generating internal labor markets at least in Japan (Arai, 1997b). For more details, see also Doeringer and Piore (1985) and Osterman (1984).Google Scholar
  12. 19.
    Beller (1982) shows that occupational differences between the sexes diminished in the United States in the 1970s because of equal employment opportunity laws. According to the empirical study by Eberts and Stone (1985) on American teachers in elementary and secondary schools, sex discrimination in promotions to administrative positions declined by more than half in the 1970s. Using federal personnel records for 1973–82, Lewis (1986) finds strikingly similar promotion probabilities for white men and women when a variety of individual characteristics are accounted for.Google Scholar
  13. 20.
    According to the empirical study on the United States by Light and Ureta (1992), in recent years firms have become able to distinguish low female quitters as easily as in the case of men on the basis of the information available at the time of hiring (academic careers, job careers, etc.), though previously it was quite risky to hire women because their quit rate was high.Google Scholar
  14. 21.
    Shimada and Higuchi (1985) point out that the labor force participation behavior of Japanese women in the post-war period was not necessarily as predicted by human capital theory. For example, the decline in the number of children occurred much earlier than the salient increases in the level of education and the rate of employed labor force participation.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kazuhiro Arai 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kazuhiro Arai
    • 1
  1. 1.Hitotsubashi UniversityKunitachi, TokyoJapan

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