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Munk, Martin D.; Poutvaara, Panu; Foged, Mette (2012): Transnational Cultural Capital, Educational Reproduction, and Privileged Positions.
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Abstract

Previous research has shown that family background still plays a role in educational choices, especially when it comes to elite education. We study how social origin affects the likelihood of pursuing elite or non-elite university education abroad, compared with university education at home. We use both inverse probability weighted survey data on migration and register data. Having highly educated and positioned parents, often with transnational cultural capital, increases the likelihood of obtaining university education both at home and abroad. Our survey data on people who have emigrated for at least five years indicates that the parental background plays the biggest role in attaining an elite education abroad. The distribution of parental education among those who obtain non-elite education abroad does not differ from the distribution among those obtaining university educations in the home country. We suggest that the acquisition of distinctive educational capital abroad should be seen as an intergenerational reproduction strategy that supplements the portfolio of (national) strategies, to be studied at the intersection of stratification and migration literature. Because the United Kingdom and the United States have the greatest number of distinctive institutions of higher education, in the zones of prestige, these countries are attracting the majority of those studying abroad. Father’s education plays a bigger role for men while mother’s education plays a bigger role for women, especially among women going for elite education. When we asked respondents why they studied abroad, especially men highlighted academic level and prestige. For one third of women, partner was an important consideration. It turns out that many of the male and female individuals with a degree from abroad hold positions as top manager or as self-employed in an international environment. ; Previous research has shown that family background still plays a role in educational choices, especially when it comes to elite education. We study how social origin affects the likelihood of pursuing elite or non-elite university education abroad, compared with university education at home. We use both inverse probability weighted survey data on migration and register data. Having highly educated and positioned parents, often with transnational cultural capital, increases the likelihood of obtaining university education both at home and abroad. Our survey data on people who have emigrated for at least five years indicates that the parental background plays the biggest role in attaining an elite education abroad. The distribution of parental education among those who obtain non-elite education abroad does not differ from the distribution among those obtaining university educations in the home country. We suggest that the acquisition of distinctive educational capital abroad should be seen as an intergenerational reproduction strategy that supplements the portfolio of (national) strategies, to be studied at the intersection of stratification and migration literature. Because the United Kingdom and the United States have the greatest number of distinctive institutions of higher education, in the zones of prestige, these countries are attracting the majority of those studying abroad. Father’s education plays a bigger role for men while mother’s education plays a bigger role for women, especially among women going for elite education. When we asked respondents why they studied abroad, especially men highlighted academic level and prestige. For one third of women, partner was an important consideration. It turns out that many of the male and female individuals with a degree from abroad hold positions as top manager or as self-employed in an international environment.