Rural revitalization ultimately depends on talents, and the cultivation of talents depends on education.


            — Chinese National Strategic Plan for Rural Revitalization (2018-2022)



– What’s intergenerational transmission of education?


The purpose of poverty alleviation through education is to stop the intergenerational transmission of poverty and solve the poverty issue at its root, which plays a sustainable role in poverty alleviation and eradication. Intergenerational transmission of education refers to the transfer of educational attainment between parents and children, it indicated that there is a causal relationship between the education of parents and the education of children. This transmission mechanism emphasizes that the education of the offspring is not solely determined by predisposing genetic factors, but rather by post-induced nurturing. The main channels through which nurturing influences the education of the next generation include human capital, economic capital, cultural capital as well as social capital. The stronger the intergenerational transmission effect of education, the more dependent the offspring’s education is on the general education level of their parents, and the greater the gap is induced by differences of family background in educational attainment.


-The more fathers learn, the more children learn


If intergenerational transmission of education has been imposing significant influences on the development of rural China, it is of utter importance to improve educational inequalities through the policy of alleviating poverty to support educational development. To investigate the correlation between fathers’ education level and children’s education level in rural China, an empirical survey analysis was conducted based on the China Health and Aging Tracking Survey (CHARLS) data. The results show that fathers’ years of education have a significant positive effect on children’s education, as reflected by the increase in the average years of education of children and the probability of receiving a higher level of education incurred by the increase in the average years of education fathers have received, which proves the prevalence of intergenerational transmission effect of education in rural families.


-The age of the father matters


In this analysis, the sample was divided into three groups according to fathers’ age, which were the groups of fathers under 60, 60-69, and 70 years old and above. The results demonstrated that the intergenerational transmission effect of education in rural areas has always existed, however, it does vary across time. The education level of fathers under 60 years old has a significantly lower impact on the education level of their children compared to the group of fathers aged 60 years and above, which reflects the reduced intergenerational transmission effect of education in rural areas. This reflects the weakening of the intergenerational transmission effect and the improvement of educational inequalities in rural areas.


-The impact on children’s higher education


In addition, the analysis illustrates the significant contribution of a father’s higher educational attainment to his child’s level of higher education. The results indicate that the probability of children receiving higher education increases by about 8.5% for each additional year of education received by the father, which is higher than the increase in the probability of children attending senior high school (7.8%) and junior high school (6.4%) when the father’s education increases by one year, indicating that the intergenerational transmission effect of education in rural areas is more substantial in higher education. Moreover, the results show that the probability of receiving college, senior high school and junior high school education is about 32%, 26%, and 57% respectively higher for males than females, consequently, this further affirms that there are gender differences in educational attainments and effects of intergenerational transmission of education in rural areas.


In view of this, the government should invest more resources in poor rural areas, build an uninterrupted financial support policy system from kindergarten to graduate school, and bring together all sectors of society to promote poverty alleviation and education as well as make efforts to disrupt the intergenerational transmission of education in rural areas.

Written by Yan Wei. 



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