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Determined to Succeed?Performance versus Choice in Educational Attainment$
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Michelle Jackson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780804783026

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804783026.001.0001

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Primary and Secondary Effects

Primary and Secondary Effects

Some Methodological Issues

(p.34) Chapter Two Primary and Secondary Effects
Determined to Succeed?

Christiana Kartsonaki

Michelle Jackson

David R. Cox

Stanford University Press

This chapter discusses a method for providing quantitative estimates of the relative importance of primary and secondary effects in creating educational inequalities, describes the method, and derives standard errors for the estimates both of primary and secondary effects and their relative importance. At the heart of the method is an idealized process that links social background, academic performance, and the transition. To investigate the relative importance of primary and secondary effects, the method combines the choice distribution of students of one class with the performance distribution of students of another to produce a synthesized, or potential, outcome. It concludes that approximation to the log odds may give biased estimates when probabilities of transition critically depend on the tails of the distribution. In that case, standard errors calculated using the delta method are likely to be underestimated.

Keywords:   educational inequality, social background, academic performance, performance distribution, standard error

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