• Jeevitha Yogachchandiran
4. semester, Sociologi, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
The aim of this master thesis is to examine how social origin, i.e. parental social status and ethnic capital affect the choice to get a higher education among ethnic minorities in Denmark. In order to investigate this, I study three different aspects of this choice: First, I examine the transitions from completion of elementary school to enrolment into higher education, second I examine what field of study they enroll into, and finally I study their persistence in higher education. In the analysis, I compare the whole group of ethnic minorities with natives. I also distinguish between different ethnic groups and between immigrants and children of immigrants.
The theoretical expectations that guide my empirical analysis is on the one hand that dominant theories of educational inequality i.e. cultural capital and relative risk aversion might have less explanatory power in terms of explaining educational attainment among ethnic minorities compared to natives. On the other hand, I expect cultural capital and relative risk aversion to have more explanatory power in terms of explaining the choice of field of study among ethnic minorities compared to natives. Finally, following the theory of ethnic capital, I expect that the average human capital stock of the ethnic group has an effect on both the choice to get a higher education and the choice of field of study among ethnic minorities.
I use national register data from Denmark containing information on all natives and all people with an ethnic minority background living in the country from 1986-2012. To analyze the transitions from elementary school to enrolment into higher education, I utilize a set of binary logistic regressions. To analyze the choice of field of study, I utilize a multinominal logistic regression model. Finally, I investigate the persistence and completion of higher education utilizing a cox regression model.
The results show that parental social status has a smaller effect on the choice to get a higher education among ethnic minorities compared to natives. Moreover, ethnic minorities have a higher probability of both enrolling into upper secondary school and higher education compared to natives. I argue that this might be explained by the fact that persons with an ethnic minority background are often more motivated and ambitious in the educational system in order to compensate for their often disadvantaged background. However, when it comes to completing upper secondary school and higher education, the natives outperform ethnic minorities. I argue that this might be an indication that some persons with an ethnic minority background have more ambition than they can meet.
In terms of the choice of field of study ethnic minorities have a higher probability of choosing medicine, odontology and other health programs compared to natives. Furthermore, children of immi-grants also have a higher probability of choosing law compared to natives. These results point to the fact that ethnic minorities favor professional and prestigious programs with good prospects for future income and job possibilities. I interpret this result as an indication that persons with an ethnic minority background and their families are relatively more focused on the economic outcomes of getting higher education as compared to cultural outcomes.
Furthermore, the analysis clearly shows that the ethnic group to whom one belongs is an important factor in terms of explaining both the choice to get a higher education and the choice of field of study. People from Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan have a higher probability of choosing to get a higher education compared to people from Turkey, Morocco, Yugoslavia, Lebanon, and Somalia. The first mentioned groups of countries also have the highest probability of choosing professional and prestigious programs, whereas the latter groups have the highest probability of choosing humanistic studies and social sciences. However, these correlations can only to some extent be explained by the standard measure of ethnic capital. For that reason, I suggest that the theory of ethnic capital might lack a concept of the cultural differences between ethnic groups. Thus, I argue that the rather stark differences between the ethnic groups, which I observe, might to some extent be explained by cultural differences rather than the standard measure of ethnic capital.
SprogDansk
Udgivelsesdatoaug. 2014
Antal sider113
ID: 201994175