||Fate, fear or fight : aspirations and educational poverty traps across generations
5002017-09 , Institute of Developing Economies (IDE-JETRO)
This paper tests empirically the behavioural educational poverty traps persisting across generations through aspirations failure. Chinese natural experiments since the 1950s help identify aspirations for different generations, including parental sufferings during the Great Famine, their social class and experiences in the “(Up to the Mountains and) Down to the Countryside” movement during the Cultural Revolution, and filial in utero exposure to the Great Famine and compliance to the One-Child Policy. Exploiting nationally representative household data, we find that aspirations and educational attainments are transmitted across generations. Historically political campaigns decrease parental educational aspirations, and in utero exposure to severe undernutrition enhances fatalism. Aspirations failure in terms of less perceived importance of education in future life and fatalism that are transmitted from parents tends to decrease filial educational attainments, underlying intergenerational educational poverty traps.