Family size and educational consequences in the UK -PhD thesis-

Publication type

Thesis/Degree/Other Honours


Publication date

June 1, 2013


This thesis investigates in what ways the family matters for educational outcomes. Six
research questions are answered. First, is family size associated with familial resources?
Second, is having a large family associated with lower levels of objective and subjective
educational outcomes and has this changed over the 20th century? Third, is there evidence
of an association between family size and emotional health and life perspectives of young
people? Fourth, is there any evidence of an association between family size and the degree
of confidence and sociability? Fifth, do parenting strategies vary by family size? Sixth, is
there evidence if a casual relationship between family size and educational outcomes?
The British Household Panel Survey, the Longitudinal Survey of Young People in England
and the ONS Longitudinal Study are used to answer these questions.
The key findings from the observational studies are as follows. First, as family size
increases there is a reduction in familial resources. Second, as a result of resource dilution
there is a reduction in the highest qualification attained; this rmding is robust to alternative
measures of educational outcomes. Third, there is a positive relationship between family
size and reporting poor emotional health and external locus of control. Fourth, there is
some evidence that the manner in which the young person socialises varies by family size.
Fifth, parenting strategies vary by family size; these strategies are positively associated with
GCSE achievement and ameliorate the negative family size association. Sixth, testing the
resource dilution model using twins as an exogenous increase in family size found that
there is weak evidence of a causal relationship between family size and educational
This thesis addresses the influence of the family on inequalities in education. The findings
have important implications for future research on this topic.




Not held in Research Library - bibliographic reference only



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