The composition of family background: The influence of the economic and cultural resources of both parents on the offspring’s educational attainment in the Netherlands between 1939 and 1991

Maarten L. Buis

the European Sociological Review, (2013), Vol. 29, No 3, pp. 593-602.


This article studies the effect of parental background on the educational attainment of the offspring. In particular, it compares the effects of parental occupation and education and investigates whether the relative importance of these resources have shifted over time. In addition, this article studies which parent has the strongest effect on the offspring's education. Using data for the Netherlands, this article finds that occupational status has the same effect regardless of who contributed it, while for the effect of parental education it matters whether the parent is the highest, same, or lowest educated parent. No evidence was found that the relative sizes of these effects have changed over cohorts.

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